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Virgin Blue and Qantas shares hit by global recession fears

Virgin Blue and Qantas shares crashed over 10% yesterday as the Australian stock market dived nearly 6% to its lowest level in more than four years on growing fears of a worldwide recession.

The gloom was felt across Asia with Japan's Nikkei down 6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index falling 4% and South Korea's KOSPI Index shedding more than 6%.

A report from The Conference Board suggests South Korea's economic activity "is likely to remain sluggish in the near term, and the risks for further economic weakness remain elevated". Korean Air's shares slumped almost 7% and Asiana was down about half that amount.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 13-Nov-08

Only Shanghai Airlines and Hainan Airlines were in the black for the day, rising 3.4% and 5.1%, respectively.