World Markets: Stocks retreat on US fears
The retreat from risk also weighed on commodities, with the exception of oil, which jumped in the previous session due to rising tensions in the Middle East after Israel launched an offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Of course we did just see a sharp sell-off on Wall Street as we approach that fiscal cliff, said Stan Shamu, market analyst at IG Markets in Melbourne. It just seems that there's not much confidence out there.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.9 percent, with shares in South Korea , Australia and Hong Kong all losing 1 percent or more.
But Tokyo's Nikkei rose 0.9 percent as the boost given to exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and Canon Inc. by a slide in the yen the previous day outweighed global concerns.
Shares in Playstation maker Sony Corp tumbled however, losing 10.7 percent after the company said it would raise $1.9 billion through a sale of convertible bonds. U.S. stocks fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday after President Barack Obama reiterated his call for the wealthy to pay higher taxes, setting the stage for a tough budget battle with Congressional Republicans.
Investors fear that the package of tax increases and
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