U.S. Markets closed

Asian stocks down after weak US earnings

Eileen Ng, Associated Press

Employees work on the floor of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Thursday morning, Oct. 24, 2013. An improvement in China's manufacturing wasn't enough to boost Asian stock markets Thursday after Wall Street fell on disappointing corporate earnings. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- An improvement in Chinese manufacturing wasn't enough to boost Asian stock markets Thursday after Wall Street fell on disappointing corporate earnings and jitters continued about tighter credit in China.

U.S. stocks broke a four-day streak of record closes after Caterpillar reported a plunge in third quarter earnings and the falling oil price hurt energy stocks. Caterpillar, which makes mining and construction equipment, is considered an important barometer of the global economy. A weak revenue outlook from communications chip maker Broadcom also weighed on sentiment.

Those cues offset a preliminary HSBC survey showing that China's manufacturing rose to a seven-month high in October, suggesting continued momentum for the rebound in the world's second-biggest economy.

Some analysts said there were also renewed fears of tighter credit in China that could check its economic recovery after the central bank refrained from injecting funds into money markets for a third day. In the middle of the year, rates in the bank-to-bank lending market shot higher after unexpected efforts by the central bank to curb frothy credit growth.

The central bank "is merely taking measures to manage liquidity and we won't see a repeat of the squeeze we saw in June," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.7 percent to 22,833.50 and China's Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.3 percent at 2,175.71.

Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 0.5 percent to 14,357.15 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,372.90.

On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.5 percent to 1,746.38 while the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.4 percent to 15,413.33.

The S&P had surged 6 percent over the previous two weeks, capped by a record close of 1,754.67 on Tuesday on signs that the Federal Reserve may refrain from pulling back on its economic stimulus until possibly next year.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was up 64 cents at $97.50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.44 to $96.86 on Wednesday.

The euro rose to $1.3791 from $1.3774 late Wednesday. The dollar rose to 97.44 yen from 97.36 yen.