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Asian stocks lower on Greek economy fears
Asian stock markets fall as investors fear a Greek rejection of bailout plan
By The Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) ' Asian stocks continued to slump Wednesday, as fears intensified that Greece might reject a controversial austerity plan to rescue its economy and default on its massive debts.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index tumbled 1.9 percent to 8,665.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 1.3 percent to 19,114.04. South Korea's Kospi index sank 1.4 percent to 1,882.24. Australia's S&P ASX 200 index lost 1.2 percent to 4,181.40.

Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia also fell.

A wave of selling swept across global markets Tuesday, a day after Greece's prime minister said he would call a national vote on an unpopular European plan that would result in painful tax increases and drastic welfare cuts to rescue that nation's economy.

If the European rescue plan falls through and Greece defaults on its debt, the ripple effect would be global. Europe could fall into recession, hurting a major market for American exports, and banks could severely restrict lending.

The Dow fell 2.5 percent to close at 11,657.96 on Tuesday. It was the biggest drop since Sept. 22. The S&P 500 lost 2.8 percent to 1,218.28. The Nasdaq composite dropped 2.9 percent to 2,606.96.

Benchmark crude for December delivery was down 84 cents at $91.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1 to settle at $92.19 in New York on Tuesday.

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