Asian markets mostly fell yesterday after worse-than-expected economic data from China and Europe stoked fresh concerns over global growth, bringing an end to a recent spell of optimism.
Tokyo stocks closed lower following overnight losses on Wall Street. The Nikkei 225 Index ended 1.14 percent, or 115.61 points, lower at 10,011.47.
In Shanghai, the composite index fell 1.10 percent, or 26.23 points, to 2,349.54. The index lost 2.30 percent over the week.
“In the mid-term, the market is set to rise as liquidity conditions improve,” Li Jian, an analyst at Dongxing Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Sydney finished flat, nudging 3.3 points lower to 4,270.4.
But Mumbai bucked the gloomy trend, rising 0.96 percent on bargain hunting to close at 17,361.74 following a steep fall the previous day, while Seoul eked out a gain, adding 0.71 points to 2,026.83.
Global markets have staged an impressive rally since the turn of the year thanks to consistently upbeat US jobs data as well as European leaders’ success in helping Greece avoid a messy default.
But news on Thursday that manufacturing activity in China, the world’s number two economy, had hit a four-month low was compounded later by figures indicating the eurozone was in recession.
HONG KONG: Shares fell 1.11 percent yesterday as weak manufacturing data from China and Europe dowsed recent optimism over the global economy.
The Hang Seng Index slipped 232.76 points to 20,668.80.
“Datawise, yes, numbers from China have been a worry but we have had a very decent quarter for the market,” said Tom Kaan, director at brokerage Louis Capital Markets.
SINGAPORE: Most Southeast Asian stocks recouped early losses to end modestly higher yesterday, helped by late buying in selected shares.
In Singapore, the Straits Times Index closed 0.36 percent, or 10.83 points, higher at 2,990.08.
“It’s been about China growth. In the absence of anything else to keep the market occupied, that has taken some of the wind out from the market,” said Song Seng Wun, senior analyst at CIMB in Singapore.
KUALA LUMPUR: Share prices on Bursa Malaysia closed the day on a softer note, dampened by news of a possible slowdown in China’s growth and the economic unease in Europe.
The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI), however, closed 2.59 points better at 1,585.83, supported by plantation stocks. The market barometer, which opened a marginal 0.71 point better at 1,583, managed to climb as high as 1,587.08 during trade yesterday.
In other Asian markets yesterday:
* Taipei rose 0.21 percent, or 16.67 points, to 8,076.61.
* Manila was virtually unchanged, dipping 1.08 points to 5, rcent to 13.14 pesos.
* Bangkok rose 0.29 percent, or 3.44 points, to 1,194.44.
* Jakarta was closed for a public holiday.
EUROPE: European equities retreated further early yesterday after four straight sessions of falls, stalked by concerns over the global growth outlook.
The pan-European FTSE Eurofirst 300 had shed 0.2 percent to 1,076.90 points by 1002 GMT.
London’s FTSE 100 index dipped 0.12 percent to 5,838.82 points approaching midday here. Frankfurt’s DAX 30 fell 0.17 percent to 6,970.72 points and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 0.44 percent to 3,457.62.
“The tide turned for equities this week as investor’s risk appetite waned,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at brokers Interactive Investor.
AMERICA: Stocks eked out a small gain at the end of a rough week in which the market was weighed down by prospects of a global economic slowdown.
The Dow on Friday closed up 34.59 points, or 0.3 percent, at 13,080.73. Financial stocks performed well, led by a 2.6 percent gain for Bank of America.
For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average was off 152 points, the worst in a month despite reports of strengthening in the U.S. jobs market and better corporate profits. Investors were worried about a slowdown in Asia and Europe and the impact of higher oil prices on consumer spending.
Home builders and home improvement stocks fell Friday after the Commerce Department said sales of new homes fell 1.6 percent last month. PulteGroup fell 2.6 percent and Lennar declined 1 percent, while Lowe’s and Home Depot fell a little less than 1 percent.
In other trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index inched up 4.33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,397.11 and the Nasdaq composite rose 4.6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,067.92.
A wide range of companies including Nike, Oracle, FedEx, and Tiffany have reported stellar earnings this week. However, those accomplishments were marred by worries of the effect of a slowdown in Asia and Europe on the companies that rely on global sales. Reports in China and Europe earlier in the week pointed to a likely slowdown in those economies.
Nike was off 3.2 percent, FedEx down less than 1 percent and Tiffany was off 1.4 percent.
“Investors are scared so they’re seeing a glass half empty rather than a glass half full,” said Rob Lutts, president at Cabot Money Management.
American consumers, who drive two-thirds of the economy, are spending more in stores and restaurants. But investors are worried about how long that will last if oil prices continue to rise.
Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, beat Wall Street forecasts with an 8.5 percent increase in profits after warm weather brought more people to its restaurants. But Darden stock fell 1.7 percent.
Crude oil rose 1.4 percent after a brief downturn Thursday. Gasoline has risen 59 cents per gallon since Jan. 1 and the average price nationwide is above $4 in at least eight states, plus the District of Columbia.
And then there is China and Europe. New surveys showed a contraction in the manufacturing sector in China, a bellwether for world demand as it produces and exports a huge amount of consumer goods. In Europe, Ireland dipped back into recession.
However, Lutts believe the worries are overblown. “Though China is slowing, I’m not that worried because the government will do all it can to get growth back on track,” he said.
Treasury prices and gold rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.23 percent.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD USD – 1.3270 0.0121 1.5870 1.1015 1.0022 1.0463 0.1287 EUR 0.7537 – 0.0092 1.1960 0.8300 0.7548 0.7874 0.0970 JPY 82.3500 109.280 – 130.669 90.6700 82.5100 86.1540 10.5990 GBP 0.6301 0.8362 0.0077 – 0.6941 0.6314 0.6596 0.0811 CHF 0.9081 1.2050 0.0110 1.4410 – 0.9099 0.9495 0.1169 CAD 0.9979 1.3242 1.2118 1.5836 1.0990 – 1.0444 0.1285 AUD 0.9552 1.2685 0.0116 1.5160 1.0518 0.9574 – 0.1230 HKD 7.7676 10.308 0.0943 12.3283 8.5544 7.7845 8.1316 – Bloomberg