Asian shares down on Europe woe, Apple hits techs

Asian markets fell Wednesday and the euro sat near multi-year lows amid growing fears Spain will need a full bailout, while tech shares were hit by Apple's disappointing earnings report.

Japanese shares were also hurt by news the country had posted a record trade deficit in the first six months of the year as energy costs soared and exports to key markets tumbled while the strong yen also weighed.

Tokyo closed down 1.44 percent, or 122.19 points, at 8,365.90, Seoul fell 1.37 percent, or 24.62 points to 1,769.31, and Sydney lost 0.23 percent, or 9.3 points, to close at 4,123.9.

Hong Kong closed 0.14 percent lower, shedding 25.87 points to 18,877.33, and Shanghai eased 0.49 percent, or 10.44 points, to 2,136.15.

Eyes are firmly on Europe, where Madrid remains in focus as its borrowing costs for benchmark 10-year bonds reached 7.621 percent on Tuesday, well inside the danger zone considered too much to sustain.

The figure is also around the levels that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek bailouts, raising the prospect that Spain will have to go cap-in-hand.

Economists fear help for Spain, one of the region's biggest economies, could cost more than the previous three put together, putting pressure on the eurozone bailout fund.

And they are increasingly in unison that a eurozone bailout of up to 100 billion euros agreed for Spain's banks will be insufficient to get the country through the crisis brought on by a collapse of its real estate boom in 2008.

More bad news came as Moody's lowered the outlook on the EU's bailout fund from stable to negative Tuesday, a day after threatening the triple-A ratings of Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, three of the eurozone's top guarantors.

The euro remained under pressure, sitting at 12-year lows against the yen and two-year lows against the dollar.

In late Asian trade the common currency fetched $1.2090 and 94.56 yen, compared with $1.2063 and 94.28 late Tuesday in New York, where it had touched lows of $1.2050 and 94.08 yen. The dollar was at 78.20 yen against 78.17 Japanese yen.

The rolling crises pressed on Wall Street, which saw the Dow close 0.82 percent lower, the S&P 500 fall 0.90 percent and the Nasdaq drop 0.94 percent.

Adding to the downward pressure on US stocks was Apple's announcement that quarterly profit rose 20.5 percent to $8.8 billion on hot iPad sales -- below forecasts.

Revenues rose 22.5 percent to $35 billion, also below expectations of more than $37 billion.

The firm blamed the underachievement on customers putting off buying the iPhone ahead of the expected release of iPhone 5 later in the year.

Asian tech firms with links to Apple were hit by the report.

In Japan, Sharp slumped 10 percent, with concerns over its upcoming earnings also weighing, while LG Display lost 4.751 percent in South Korea.

Tokyo released figures showing a deficit of $37.3 billion in the first half of the year, with imports of energy surging as the country's key atomic reactors remained switched off following last year's nuclear crisis.

The debt troubles in crucial market Europe affected overseas shipments, while the yen's rally against the euro and dollar also hit export firms.

On oil markets New York's main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery, declined 26 cents to $88.24 a barrel in late afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September fell 11 cents to $103.31.

Gold was at $1,592.40 at 1045 GMT from $1,573.81 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Singapore closed down 0.25 percent, or 7.52 points, at 2,990.92.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp shed 0.75 percent to Sg$9.29 while Singapore Airlines gained 0.19 percent to Sg$10.69.

-- Taipei fell 29.22 points, or 0.42 percent, to 6,979.13.

Hon Hai Precision shed 4.32 percent to Tw$81.9 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.27 percent lower at Tw$74.6.

-- Manila ended flat, nudging up 2.06 points to 5,161.80.

Ayala Corp fell 1.0 percent to 411 pesos and SM Investments dropped 2.7 percent to 720 pesos while property developer Megaworld gained 4.7 percent to 2.23 pesos.

-- Wellington ended flat, edging down 1.73 points to 3,458.98.

Air New Zealand slipped 1.7 percent to NZ$0.895, Fletcher Building was off 0.7 percent at NZ$5.77, and Telecom Corp gained 1.6 percent to NZ$2.565.

-- Kuala Lumpur was up 0.15 percent, or 2.52 points, at 1,635.09.

Newly listed IHH Healthcare rose 10 percent to 3.09 ringgit, KL Kepong added 1.9 percent to 24.16 ringgit, and PPB gained 1.8 percent to 15.48 ringgit.

-- Jakarta closed up 0.22 percent, or 8.73 points, at 4,000.84.

Telkom rose 1.1 percent to 8,950 rupiah, gas distributor Gas Negara jumped 1.3 percent to 3,825 rupiah, and Bank Permata increased 2.88 percent to 1,430 rupiah.

-- Bangkok added 0.08 percent, or 0.98 points, to 1,188.62.

BANPU dropped 2.27 percent to 430.00 baht, while PTT lost 0.93 percent to 318.00 baht.

-- Mumbai fell 0.43 percent, or 72.03 points, to 16,846.05.

Jindal Steel fell 4.33 percent to 396.75 rupees while its larger rival Tata Steel fell 2.41 percent to 387.45 rupees.

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