World Economy

Asia Shares Lose Steam, Europe Mixed

Asia Shares Lose Steam, Europe MixedAsia Shares Lose Steam, Europe Mixed

Asian stocks lost steam on Wednesday, with most leading indexes in retreat after US markets slumped on worries about surging oil prices and growing tensions over the Greek debt crisis.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index ended down 114.63 points, or 0.41%, at 27,640.91 and the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.62%, or 69.44 points, to 4,229.27, AP reported. Taipei edged down 1.93 points, or 0.02% to 9,818.2 and Sydney tumbled 134.3 points, or 2.3%, to close at 5,692.2. South Korean shares lost 1.3% or 27.65 points to end at 2,104.58. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

But most markets took their lead from Wall Street, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average Tuesday dropped 142.20 points or 0.79% to 17,928.20, weighed down by a rise in US oil prices above US$60 a barrel.

“Markets are a little tired,” Wayne Wilbanks, chief investment officer at US-based Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management told Bloomberg Television.

“Investors are starting to wake up to the reality that there’s not a whole lot of growth currently in the market. China is slowing down. What we have there is huge monetary stimulus which is causing this stock market semi-bubble,” he said.

Analysts also cited a sharp rise in the US trade deficit in March and the growing rift between Greece and its creditors over the terms of a bailout. European stock markets were mixed at the start of trading on Wednesday as investors balanced Britain’s upcoming general election against events across the eurozone.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index dipped 0.03% to 6,925.43 points on the eve of Britain’s most unpredictable election in living memory, with fears of weeks of brinksmanship as the two major parties struggle to cobble together workable coalitions.