Most Asian stocks advance but economic worries linger

Most Asian stock markets climbed Tuesday, with oil companies gaining on the back of stronger crude prices, but Japanese shares sank to a new 26-year closing low amid ongoing worries about the economic crisis. Hong Kong stocks led the region's advance as reeling banking giant HSBC rebounded after the government said it was probing a massive drop in the company's shares the day before. Other Asian banking shares, punished of late as the world financial sector struggles to raise more capital to make up for crippling losses, also moved higher. Rises across the region followed Europe but ran counter to the US, where Wall Street continued to skid on fears about the depth of the recession in the world's largest economy. But Tuesday's gains were taken by analysts as a fleeting move upward in a larger bear market, with investors still on edge about the global economy and the financial sector. The region's stocks have fallen along with world equity markets in recent weeks as investors were shaken by the possibility that the magnitude of the slowdown in Asia's export-dependent economies is far greater than expected.