Sunday, March 2, 2008

Asia Stock Futures Drop as UBS Predicts More Losses for Markets

By Masaki Kondo

March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Asia's stock index futures fell after UBS AG predicted global financial companies may have losses of at least $600 billion from the collapse of U.S. subprime mortgages.

U.S.-traded receipts of Mizuho Financial Group Inc. retreated 4.7 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo on Feb. 29, while Westpac Banking Corp. lost 1.8 percent. Sony Corp. fell 3.6 percent after the yen strengthened against the dollar to a level not seen in more than three years, cutting the value of overseas earnings.

New Zealand's NZX 50 Index, Asia's first benchmark to begin trading, lost 47.54, or 1.3 percent, to 3,535.19 at 11:53 a.m. in Wellington. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract due in March slumped 2.6 percent to 5,420 at 7:59 a.m. in Sydney.

Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures expiring in March closed at 13,305 in Chicago, down from the close of 13,560 in Osaka and 13,580 in Singapore on Feb. 29.

``Japan's stock market will remain bearish as the U.S. economy is slowing'' and the yen is strengthening against the dollar, Mamoru Shimode, an equity strategist at Deutsche Bank AG, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

The Bank of New York Asia ADR Index, which tracks American depositary receipts of the region's companies, slid 3 percent.

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