Investing.com - Asian stock markets opened down Thursday on fears that the European debt crisis is showing no signs of abating after reports emerged that European financial institutions are stockpiling cash.
During morning Asian trading, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 1.14%, Australia's S&P/ASX200 was down 1.07%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index was down 0.75%.
In Europe, bank use of the European Central Bank's overnight deposit facility hit a record EUR452.03 billion, fueling fears that financial institutions are stocking up on money, including funds from recent loans made available to them from the ECB, instead of investing it into the economy.
Those reports offset relatively upbeat news coming out of an Italian bond auction and sent equities falling worldwide.
Hong Kong's leading losers included China Overseas, down 2.83%, China Mer Holdings, down 2.23%, and China Res Power, also down 2.23%.
In Australia, the top decliners included Intrepid Mines, down 5.93%, Gryphon Minerals, down 5.88%, and Energy World Corporation, down 5.80%.
European stock futures indicated slight gains ahead.
France's CAC 40 futures pointed to a gain of 0.63%, while Germany ’s DAX 30 futures signaled a gain of 0.41%. Meanwhile, in the U.K., the FTSE 100 futures indicated a gain of 0.25%.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.31% while the broader S&P 500 futures were up 0.32%.
Later Thursday in the U.S., the government will unveil weekly jobless claims, while the Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index will reveal the economic health of the manufacturing sector in the Chicago area.
Also in the U.S., market watchers will pay attention to crude and gasoline inventories as well as pending home sales data.
In Europe, German inflation numbers will hit the wire, and the European Central Bank will also release data on private loans as well as on the level of the money supply.
Closer to home in Asia, South Korean inflation figures are due out later Thursday as is Japan's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index.