Asian stocks track Wall Street lower; oil near $79

HONG KONG: Asian stocks retreated Tuesday, following losses on Wall Street amid rising concerns the markets have gotten ahead of economic realities.

Every major market slid into the red, with shares in resource companies hit after a steep fall in commodity prices overnight. Oil recovered only modestly in Asia to trade near $79 a barrel, while the dollar was slightly weaker against the yen and euro following a sharp rise.

Investors unloaded shares across the region after U.S. markets got pounded as the dollar strengthened and anxiety grew about the market overheating given the troubles still facing major Western economies and a number of financial companies.

Some analysts said the markets, up massively since March, could get more choppy even if they continued to advance.

"The market has gotten high enough, so there's some profit taking right now," said Francis Lun, general manager of Fulbright Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. "The summer rally seems to be over, and I think we're facing a cold winter."

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 stock average fell 142.59 points, or 1.4 percent, to 10,220.03. Hong Kong's market, which was closed Monday, dropped 330.21, or 1.5 percent, to 22,259.52.

South Korea's Kospi shed 0.7 percent to 1,645.82 a day after new figures showed the country's economy, Asia's fourth largest, expanded at its quickest pace in seven years in the last quarter.

China's Shanghai index fell 61.20, or 2 percent, to 3,047.36. Australia's market lost 1.5 percent and India's Sensex was 0.2 percent lower.

In the U.S. overnight, the the Dow fell 104.22, or 1.1 percent, to 9,867.96.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 12.65, or 1.2 percent, to 1,066.95. The index, which is the basis for many mutual funds, is down 2.8 percent from its recent peak a week ago.

Wall Street futures were down. Dow futures fell 15, or 0.2 percent, to 9,826.

In currencies, the dollar weakened slightly after rising overnight, tradi