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Japan's Nikkei index fell 4.9 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 5.5 percent while a leading indicator of stock values in South Korea -- the KOSPI index -- went down 6.1 percent.
The stocks tumbled a day after earth-shaking news in the U.S. financial industry sent shock waves up and down Wall Street, raising fears in Asia that a decline in U.S. consumer spending could hurt export-driven economies in Asia.
Asian stock markets were closed Monday, so Tuesday's trading gave Asian traders their first opportunity to react to news from the United States.