Nikkei Skids on Bank Reform Delays

Europe stocks mostly stumble at close; Canada stocks fall on tech losses

Asia markets ended lower. In Japan, stocks fell to a fresh 17-year low, as an unexpected decline in U.S. consumer confidence data fueled worries about global economic health. The biggest pressure came from banks, which sank sharply in response to Financial Services Agency Minister Yanagisawa's comments that a significant reduction of bad loans will not begin until 2004. The delay is due to an increase in the number of loans falling into the problem category as a result of the economic downturn. The Nikkei 225 lost 209.64 points, or 1.87%, to 10,979.76.

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