US ATTACK: Asian tech stocks end sharply lower

Asian stock markets tumbled Wednesday in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks that cost an unknown number of lives and brought the U.S. financial and political capitals to a halt Tuesday.

In Tokyo, where the start of trading was delayed by 30 minutes, the stocks of technology companies were among the biggest losers. Mitsubishi Electric Corp. tumbled 9.3 percent, Toshiba Corp. was down 8.5 percent, NEC Corp. dropped 8.0 percent, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. was off 7.4 percent, Hitachi Ltd. fell 6.0 percent and Sony Corp. saw its shares slide 5.0 percent.

The overall market, measured by the Nikkei 225 index, closed down 6.6 percent at 9,610.10 -- its lowest point since December 1983. Trading on the foreign section, which includes companies such as IBM Corp., Motorola Inc., Apple Computer Corp., Alcatel SA, British Telecommunications PLC and Deutsche Telekom AG, was suspended for the day in response to the closure of the U.S. markets.

In South Korea major consumer electronics maker Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. saw its stock hammered 13.6 percent as the Kospi index recorded a 12.0 percent to 464.90 points. The All Ordinaries index in Australia lost 3.8 percent to close at 3,062.8 points. Telecommunication carrier Telstra Corp. Ltd. lost 4.5 percent while media company News Corp. was down 10.6 percent. Across the sea in New Zealand, which was the first Asian market to open after the attacks, closed down 4.6 percent.

The market in Singapore followed other regional markets down and was trading off 8.7 percent late in the day. Losers outnumbered winners by 320 to 5 at 3:20 p.m. local time. Creative Technology Ltd. was down 13.2 percent, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. was off 7.8 percent and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. fell 5.1 percent. In Hong Kong, where trading had also yet to conclude, the key Hang Seng index was off 10.1 percent at 9,366 points at 3:30 p.m. local time.

U.S. markets will remain closed on Wednesday.

(Stephanie Sim in Hong Kong contributed to this report.)

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