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Asian stocks down after US cuts 3Q growth estimate
Asian stocks lower after US cuts estimate of 3Q economic growth and Spanish bond yields climb
By The Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) ' Asian stocks fell Wednesday after the U.S. lowered its economic growth estimate for the third quarter and climbing yields on Spanish bonds magnified worries over Europe's debt load.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2 percent to 17,882.10. South Korea's Kospi lost 2 percent to 1,789.83 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.6 percent to 4,066.80. Japanese stock markets were closed for a public holiday.

Wall Street slipped Tuesday after a government report showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2 percent annual rate from July through September, down from an initial estimate of 2.5 percent. Economists had expected the figure to remain the same.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.5 percent to close at 11,493.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.4 percent to 1,188.04. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 2,521.28.

Higher borrowing costs for Spain, meanwhile, renewed worries about Europe's debt crisis. The higher rates suggest that investors are still skeptical that the country will get its budget under control despite a new government coming to power this week.

Investors have been worried that Spain could become the next country to need financial support from its European neighbors if its borrowing rates climb to unsustainable levels.

Greece was forced to seek relief from its lenders after its long-term borrowing rates rose above 7 percent. The rate on Spain's own benchmark 10-year bond is dangerously close to that level, 6.58 percent.

Underscoring jitters was the lack of market reaction to an announcement by the International Monetary Fund that it will provide quick cash on flexible terms to countries facing sudden financial stress.

"Failure of this news to result in significant gains across markets shows just how cautious investors are," Stan Shamu of IG Markets in Melbourne said in a report.

Concerns remain that Europe's debt crisis is pushing the region toward recession, which would slow industrial activity in countries around the world that export to Europe.

Australian resource shares took a big hit after the country's House of Representatives approved a proposal to impose a windfall profits tax on big mining companies. The Senate is expected to endorse the measure in early 2012.

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, fell 2.6 percent. Rival Rio Tinto lost 1.6 percent and Energy Resources of Australia slid 4.2 percent.

Benchmark oil for January delivery was down 65 cents to $97.36 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.09 to finish at $98.01 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3466 from $1.3509 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose slightly to 76.99 yen from 76.97 yen.

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