Thursday, February 14, 2008

Asian Stocks Drop on Economic Outlook, Earnings; Samsung Falls

By Chen Shiyin

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks dropped, led by banks and technology companies, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the world's largest economy has deteriorated amid tighter credit.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Commonwealth Bank of Australia led banks lower. Samsung Electronics Co. dropped after Goldman, Sachs & Co. said Intel Corp., the No. 1 chipmaker, may be hurt by slowing computer demand. Trend Micro Inc., a Japanese anti-virus software developer, was the biggest decliner on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index after it forecast lower profit.

About six stocks fell for each that gained on MSCI's Asian benchmark, which dropped 1 percent to 142.72 at 10:01 a.m. in Tokyo. Declines trimmed the benchmark's first weekly gain this year to 1.4 percent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 1.7 percent to 13,391.36, after jumping 4.3 percent yesterday, the biggest advance since 2002. Benchmarks declined elsewhere in the region.

U.S. stocks dropped yesterday for the first time this week after Bernanke said Fed officials have lowered their forecasts for economic growth. Policy makers are prepared to reduce interest rates further as the economy continues to deteriorate, the Fed Chairman indicated in testimony to Congress.

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