Aegis Chronicle

Page 7 Stock Market Watch

World stocks fall amid debt doubts, China cooling



World stock markets tumbled Tuesday after China’s robust economic growth slowed and German leaders warned that a comprehensive solution to Europe’s debt crisis may not be near.

Oil prices lingered below $86 a barrel while the dollar rose against the euro but fell against the yen.

Stocks in Europe dropped in early trading, following steep losses in Asia. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 1.3 percent to 5,364.16. Germany’s DAX lost 1.3 percent to 5,783.91 and France’s CAC-40 was down 1.8 percent at 3,108.27.

Wall Street was headed for another day of losses. Dow Jones futures dropped 0.4 percent to 11,258 and S&P 500 futures were 0.3 percent lower at 1,190.20.

Earlier Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.6 percent to close at 8,741.91. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng plunged 4.2 percent to 18,076.46. South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.4 percent to 1,838.90. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines were also lower.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.3 percent to 2,383.49 while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index lost 2.9 percent at 1,010.46. The government announced that growth declined to 9.1 percent in the three months through September, down from 9.5 percent the previous quarter.

While the government said the slippage was in line with efforts to bring economic growth to a more sustainable level, any slowdown — intentional or not — could weigh on the global economic recovery.

“The number did come in a little lower than expected,” said Jackson Wong, vice president of Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong. “That added to concerns of slower growth for the fourth quarter.”

Shares of raw materials companies tumbled sharply over fears of slackening demand. Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, fell 3.3 percent. Fortescue Metals Group plummeted 9.2 percent and Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. tumbled 5.7 percent.

In Tokyo, KDDI Corp. lost 4.3 percent and Softbank was 2.9 percent lower on news that Samsung Electronics Co. had asked a court in Japan to block the sale of Apple’s iPhone 4S, alleging patent infringements. KDDI and Softbank are both vendors of the new model in Japan.

Hong Kong-listed shares in China’s railways dropped after a major financial daily, China Business News, reported that 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) worth of railway projects have stopped construction due to shortages of funds. China Railway Group Ltd. fell 9.1 percent, China Railway Construction Corp. fell 9.2 percent and Metallurgical Corp. of China lost 8.3 percent.

Camera and precision instruments maker Olympus Corp. plunged 8.9 percent, days after firing its CEO. Media reports said Michael Woodford was dismissed Friday after challenging Olympus executives about questionable corporate governance practices and several acquisitions that occurred before he took the top job six months ago.

Concerns about a messy default by the Greek government have been the main cause behind many of the big swings on the world’s stock markets lately.

The fear is that a default would cause deep losses for European banks that hold Greek bonds. That could lead to a freeze in lending between banks and escalate into another financial crisis similar to the one that occurred in 2008 after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Expectations that a solution to the European crisis could be reached at a European summit in Brussels this weekend helped lift stocks last week. But stock markets in Europe and the U.S. tumbled Monday after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said those expectations were too optimistic.

While all players in the European debt drama agree in principle on the need for a massive rescue package for the continent’s most indebted countries, there remains sharp disagreement on who will ultimately pay for it, analysts said.

“Private banks don’t want to pay if governments will do it. France doesn’t want to pay if Germany will do it. Germany doesn’t want to do it if the IMF will. The IMF doesn’t want to if China will,” DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore said in a research note. “China doesn’t want to pay unless Europe gets its house in order first.”

On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 2.1 percent to close at 11,397. The S&P 500 index lost 1.9 percent to 1,200.86. The Nasdaq composite index fell 2 percent to 2,614.92.

A batch of weak corporate earnings reports also pulled stocks lower, while news on the U.S. economy was mixed. A measure of U.S. industrial production rose for a third month, but a gauge of New York area manufacturing fell more than Wall Street expected.

Investors awaited a slew of corporate earnings reports later Tuesday to help gauge the state of the U.S. economy. Among companies reporting quarterly financial results are Apple Inc., Bank of America Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Johnson & Johnson and Yahoo Inc.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 39 cents to $85.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 42 cents to finish at $86.38 per barrel on Monday on the Nymex.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3683 from $1.3742 late Monday in New York. The dollar was lower at 76.73 yen from 76.82 yen.

Source:  Associated Press.



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