Bruised Asian markets struggle to find a floor

TOKYO, Aug 17, 2007 (AFP) – Credit fears unleashed fresh turbulence on Asian stock markets Friday as Tokyo spiralled lower and other bourses in the region struggled to find a floor a day after one of the worst routs in recent years. A late recovery overnight on Wall Street helped shares to open higher in Sydney, Hong Kong and Manila, while Seoul and Singapore saw much more modest losses than the previous day’s carnage sparked by US mortgage worries.

But much of the gains soon faded with confidence still at a low ebb after Thursday’s slump that saw some Asian bourses fall by over five percent.

Tokyo, Asia’s largest market, came under heavy selling pressure with the Nikkei-225 down 2.33 percent by lunch as a resurgent yen forced investors to take a more cautious view of the earning prospects of major exporters.
And Hong Kong quickly reversed course to slip 1.5 percent into the red.

Elsewhere investors were taking a welcome breather after Thursday’s severe selloff, but it was unclear how long the respite would last given concerns that the US mortgage problems could spark a full-blown credit crunch.

“It’s looking a fair bit healthier than it has for a while. I guess the late rebound in the US has reassured people a b