STOCKS NEWS ASIA-Markets set to fall on U.S. worries

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HONG KONG, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Asian stocks are likely to open lower on Thursday after those listed on Wall Street slid 3.5 percent to a two-month closing low on fresh worries about the health of the U.S. economy, the region's top export destination.

Australian stocks were down more than half a percent in the first few minutes of trade.

A survey showing U.S. consumer sentiment fell in November to the lowest in two years and comments from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who told the Wall Street Journal he expected a wave of mortgage defaults next year, added to the gloom in markets.

Banks were among the hardest hit on fears of more credit losses, with South Korea's Kookmin Bank and India's ICICI Bank both falling more than 7 percent.

Mitsubishi UFJ shed 1.6 percent a day after Japan's largest bank posted a 49 percent drop in first-half profit.

Losses in major U.S. financial stocks such as Goldman Sachs Group helped slice 1.6 percent off the blue-chip Dow, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.3 percent.

On Wednesday, MSCI's measure of Asia Pacific stocks excluding Japan slid 3.4 percent to a two-month closing low.


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