Investing.com – Asian stock markets tumbled on Monday, as market sentiment was weighed amid ongoing fears over a potential Greek default, while losses in Japanese exporters dragged the Nikkei down to a 29-month low.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged 3.2%, Australia’s ASX/200 Index dropped 1.1%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 2.17% after being closed on Friday.
Fears over a potential Greek default intensified over the weekend after German Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen said that a decision on the next tranche of bailout funds to Greece may take longer than previously expected, adding to investors nervousness over the ongoing debt crisis in the euro zone.
Shares in Japanese exporters with high exposure to Europe came under pressure, amid the downbeat outlook for export earnings. Sony shares tumbled 4.1%, while automakers Nissan and Toyota fell 3.6% and 1.7% respectively.
Commodity-linked shares performed poorly, with shares in Japan’s largest oil producer Inpex dropping 3%. Across the sector, copper producer JX Holdings saw shares tumble 5.6%, while shares in Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s largest commodities trader plunged 7.95%.
Shares in Nippon Electric Glass plunged 12.3% after cutting its net income forecast for the second half due to weaker demand for flat panel displays.
Elsewhere, in Hong Kong, shares in commodity producers led losses, as precious metal and oil prices fell on the New York Mercantile Exchange, dampening earnings prospects for miners and energy explorers.
Oil and gas giant CNOOC saw shares fall 3.55%, Aluminum Corporation of China shares dropped 2%, while shares in China’s largest gold miner Zijin Mining plunged 9.2%.
Also contributing to losses, shares in Esprit Holdings, the Hong Kong-based retailer that counts Europe as its largest market tumbled 7.9%.
Meanwhile, the outlook for European stock markets was sharply lower. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a drop of 2.4%, France’s CAC 40 futures tumbled 2.5%, the FTSE 100 futures dropped 1.8%, while Germany's DAX futures pointed to a loss of 1.95%.
Later in the day, the Ifo Institute for Economic Research was to publish a report on German business sentiment, while the U.S. was to produce government data on new home sales.