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Coronavirus deals much swifter blow to Asian stocks than past crises

Record low valuations give cash-rich companies an advantage, some analysts say

While the slump only about matches the declines in the crash that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, it is the pace that makes the rout this time around seem all the more brutal.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- The coronavirus-driven stock market rout across Asia has been the most rapid ever and sent valuations tumbling -- with the region's emerging markets bearing the brunt.

The start of the year proved bad enough for investors in Japan, where stocks fell 20% in the three months to March 31 -- the worst skein since the last quarter of 2008, in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers collapse. In March, the Nikkei 225 index recorded its biggest intraday fall in 30 years and largest weekly loss ever.

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