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Updated from 12:33 a.m. EST

Asian stocks closed lower Wednesday, with Japanese stocks falling as the country's biggest bank reported a 64% decline in first-half earnings.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed down by 0.7% at 8,273.22.

Banking, insurance and real estate stocks dropped on the back of the earnings shortfall at

Mitsubishi UFJ


. The lender's first-half performance was battered by an increase in bad loans as economic activity slowed and by big losses on its share portfolio.

Uncertainty over the fate of a rescue plan for ailing U.S. automakers also dampened market sentiment.

Shares of exporters, such as




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The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong finished lower by 0.8%, while the S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia declined 0.7%. The Shanghai composite index in China bucked the trend rising 6%.

Stocks in Europe were lower. The FTSE 100 index in London fell 0.5%, while the DAX in Frankfurt declined 0.4%.

Futures in the U.S. were indicating a lower open for stocks on Wall Street Wednesday. S&P 500 futures fell 12.40 points to 854.10, and were 3.98 points below fair value. Nasdaq futures fell 15.50 points to 1158.50, but were 2.05 points above fair value.

On Tuesday, stocks on Wall Street ended an erratic session with gains as traders weighed encouraging news from several big technology companies against troubles among financial firms and automotive companies.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

ended up 151.17 points, or 1.8%, at 8424.75. The S&P 500 gained 8.36 points, or 1%, at 859.11. The Nasdaq rose 1.22 points, or 0.1%, to 1483.27.

Copyright 2008 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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