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Fri, Jan 21, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Asian shares fall on gloomy US earnings reports

AGENCIES , SINGAPORE, NEW YORK, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA AND TRENTON, NEW JERSEY

Asian stock markets fell yesterday and European shares looked set to follow after a batch of sour US earnings reports and a profit warning from Sony Corp.

The grim news for the technology sector came after online marketplace eBay Inc sank 13 percent in after-hours trading on news its earnings had missed Wall Street's forecasts.

Ebay and Lucent

Ebay, one of the world's largest e-commerce companies, announced fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday of US$205.4 million, or US$0.30 per share, compared with US$142.5 million, or US$0.21 per share in the same period of 2003.

Lucent Technologies Inc's profit also fell by half in its fiscal first quarter as expenses for the telecommunications gear maker rose and operating income for its network equipment division plunged.

Lucent said net income for the quarter was US$174 million, or US$0.04 per share, marking its sixth straight money-making quarter after 13 quarterly losses during the worst of the telecom industry slump.

Caution

"A lot of people are still waiting for the market to hit a bottom before buying stocks and sentiment has been quite cautious despite the rebound in the last few days," said Frederick Tsang, research director at China Everbright Group in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index dropped 0.9 percent.

Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 1.06 percent to a one-month closing low of 11,284.77. Sony closed down 1 percent before its profit warnings, while cellphone maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co sank 1.7 percent following the Motorola news.

Further earnings disappointment from bank JPMorgan Chase & Co and drug maker Pfizer Inc raised concerns about profit trends in the US, where the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.84 percent to 10,539.97.

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