Aug. 8 - Asian markets open down on news of the U.S.'s credit rating downgrade over the weekend. Toshi Maeda reports.
Asian shares opened down across the board Monday (August 8)-- despite efforts by international policy makers to prop up investor confidence. From Shanghai to Tokyo, and everywhere in between, numbers were in the red. Shares in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan fell as much as nearly 4 percent by mid-day, while Tokyo stocks tumbled more than 2 percent. In Seoul, the Kospi started the day down nearly 1.3 percent. In Australia, stocks hit a fresh two year low, sliding more than 2 percent. This despite a conference call early Monday morning Asian time between G7 leaders who announced plans to take whatever action was needed to stabilise markets. (SOUNDBITE)(JAPANESE) YOSHIHIRO NODA, JAPANESE FINANCE MINISTER "During the conference call, we agreed that the G7 nations will stay in close contact during the next few weeks and take appropriate action, if and when it's necessary." Besides Europe's crisis, a lot of the slippage can be blamed on Standard and Poor's decision to downgrade America's credit rating from triple A, to double A plus. US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner spent the weekend criticizing S&P for their decision. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER SAYING: "I think S&P has shown really terrible judgment and they've handled themselves very poorly. And they've shown a stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget math. And I think they drew exactly the wrong conclusion." Geithner, who had earlier considered stepping down after the U.S. government borrowing limit was raised, confirmed that he will remain at his post at President Barack Obama's request. Meanwhile, traders say attention is now turning to the U.S. Federal Reserve's next meeting on Tuesday (August 9), which may signal renewed efforts to support the beleaguered U.S. economy. Toshi Maeda, Reuters.