Sept. 9 - Asian stocks fell on Friday as a $447 billion jobs package from U.S. President Barack Obama failed to pursuade investors amid concerns that political wrangling could see it watered down. Toshi Maeda reports.
Asian stocks fell on Friday (September 9) as a $447 billion jobs package from U.S. President Barack Obama failed to entice investors back into equities. Market confidence has been also fragile after Western central banks failed to offer any fresh stimulus plans. Asia Pacific shares' Index outside Japan declined more than 2 percent, heading into a weekly loss after two weeks in positive territory. Japan's Nikkei was down 0.6 percent, snapping a two-day winning streak. Meanwhile, Japan's economy shrank in the second quarter at a faster pace than expected, according to the latest numbers released Friday, as companies held back on capital expenditure. However , Australia and Taiwan, both heavily influenced by demand from China, posted gains, following Chinese inflation numbers that were slightly below a three-year high hit in July. The European Central Bank on Thursday (September 8) discussed downside risks to the euro zone's economy, while U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said authorities would do all they could to boost growth and employment. But both steered clear of announcing any fresh steps, disappointing investors in Asia. Worries about the darkening outlook for the developed world prompted four Asian central banks, including South Korea and the Philippines, to hold interest rates steady on Thursday (September 8). The central banks of Japan, Australia, Canada, and Sweden have also taken similar moves earlier this week. Toshi Maeda, Reuters.