Asian markets fall as China shares sink over 5 pct

HONG KONG: Asian markets headed lower Monday, with Chinese shares tumbling over 5 percent and Japanese stocks edging down after the country's opposition party came to power in a landslide victory.

Shanghai's market was hit with another bout of heavy selling, reflecting unease about government measures that could slow the liquidity that's sent the market surging this year. Analysts also pointed to lingering worries about a flood of new shares in the market.

"China's market is still searching for support," said Winson Fong, managing director at SG Asset Management in Hong Kong, which oversees about $2 billion in equities in Asia. "The market has gone up so much already, it makes sense for the momentum to slow for a time."

In Japan, investors tread cautiously after the Democratic Party of Japan swept to power in national elections over the weekend amid frustrations with the ruling party as the world's second-economy emerges from its worst downturn in decades.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 stock average was down 38.72 point, or 0.4 percent, at 10,495.42.

In Shanghai, the main index plummeted 162.99 points, or 5.7 percent, to 2,697.70, adding to a nearly 3 percent decline on Friday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.8 percent to 19,734.71.

Elsewhere, Korea's Kospi was down 1.1 percent and India's Sensex dropped 1.2 percent to 15,730.61. Australian shares were down 0.1 percent.

Wall Street ended last week on a down note, with the Dow falling 36.43, or 0.4 percent, to 9,544.20 in somewhat quiet trade.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.05, or 0.3 percent, to 1,027.76, while Nasdaq composite index rose 1.04, or 0.1 percent, to 2,028.77.

With Wall Street futures lower, U.S. markets were poised for more losses on Monday. Dow futures were down 56, or 0.6 percent, at 9,480 and S&P futures shed 4.7, or 0.5 percent, to 1,022.70.

Crude oil prices dropped in Asia, with the benchmark contract for October delivery lower by 44 cents at $72.30 a barrel. The contract rose 25 cents on Friday.

The dollar fell to 92.66 yen from 93.42 yen. The euro traded lower at $1.4281 from $1.4306.