published Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

World stocks mixed ahead of Chinese data release

  • photo
    In this June 21, 2012 photo, a worker picks up parts of an automobile at Chinese automaker Geely Cixi Manufacture Base in Cixi. China. China's trade growth decelerated sharply in June as a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy deepened despite stimulus efforts. Import growth fell by half from May's level to 6.3 percent, data showed Tuesday, July 10, 2012, reflecting weak Chinese consumer and industrial demand. Export growth declined to 11.3 percent from May's 15.3 percent amid weakness in China's key European and U.S. markets. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

PAMELA SAMPSON

BANGKOK (AP) — World markets were mixed Wednesday as investors waited for Chinese data this week that might show whether the world's second-largest economy is rebounding from a painful slowdown.

European stocks were lower in early trading a day before China reports July inflation, factory output and retail sales. Analysts expect its inflation to fall further, which would give Beijing room to try to shore up weak growth by easing credit without igniting a spike in consumer prices.

"Tomorrow is a big day for China, with CPI expected to show a 1.7 percent increase in July from a year earlier, the least since January 2010. Such a moderation in inflation would provide more room for monetary policy easing," Stan Shamu of IG Markets in Melbourne wrote in a market commentary. "European markets are facing a mildly weaker open with some consolidation likely after having rallied so far this week."

Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent to 5,816.73 while Germany's DAX lost 0.5 percent to 6,936.16. France's CAC-40 was 0.6 percent lower at 3,433.05. Wall Street also appeared headed for a lower opening, with Dow Jones industrial futures down 0.2 percent to 13,088 while S&P 500 futures fell 0.3 percent to 1,393.10.

Positive news about jobs out of the U.S. on Tuesday helped lift Asian stocks. The U.S. Labor Department said employers posted the most job openings in four years in June, a positive sign that hiring in the world's largest economy may pick up. That follows Friday's report that U.S. employers in July added the most jobs in five months, far more than economists were expecting.

Asian stocks ended mostly higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent to 8,881.16. South Korea's Kospi added 0.9 percent to 1,903.23 as sentiment improved a day ahead of a Bank of Korea meeting where policy makers are expected to lower interest rates to stimulate the economy.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 4,312.60. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand also rose.

But Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell marginally to 20,065.52 as investors became cautious ahead of the release of the key economic data in China. Property stocks sagged following reports in local media quoting the government as reiterating its willingness to impose restrictions. China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. fell 2 percent while Sino Land Co. lost 2.3 percent.

"They don't want to see a property bubble re-emerge," said Andrew Sullivan, principal sales trader at Piper Jaffray in Hong Kong. Mainland Chinese shares were mixed.

Shares of troubled clothing chain Esprit Holdings Ltd. plunged 12.2 percent as investors took profits a day after the stock leapt by nearly a third on news it was hiring a new CEO from Spain's Inditex, owner of the popular Zara brand.

Benchmark crude for September delivery fell 44 cents to $93.23 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.47 to finish at $93.67 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2371 from $1.2410 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar fell to 78.31 yen from 78.65 yen.

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