World Economy

European, Asian Shares Dip

European, Asian Shares DipEuropean, Asian Shares Dip

European shares dipped on Wednesday following mixed manufacturing data and as sales warnings from J Sainsbury and Nexans fuelled worries over the outlook for European corporate results.

Data showed German manufacturing activity shrank for the first time in 15 months in September as new orders dried up. Overall, manufacturing growth in the euro zone slowed further in September as new orders contracted for the first time in over a year on dwindling demand at home and from abroad, Reuters reported.

At 0810 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,377.44 points.

Spanish stocks outperformed, with Madrid’s IBEX up 0.4 percent, after data showed the country’s manufacturing sector expanded for the 10th straight month in September amid an economic recovery.

Greek banks featured among the top gainers in Europe, with Alpha Bank up 4.6 percent and National Bank of Greece up 4.3 percent, after sources said Greece has won an important concession from the European Central Bank that could help its top four lenders pass the asset quality review.

The weak data, coupled with Tuesday’s figures showing a slowdown in euro zone inflation, will add pressure on the European Central Bank, said Barclays France director Franklin Pichard.

Shares in French cable maker Nexans tumbled 8.6 percent after the firm said full-year revenue would be flat as sales dropped by around 4 percent on an organic basis in the third quarter.

Shares in British retailer J Sainsbury dropped 3.1 percent and hit their lowest level since 2008.

 Asian Stocks

Stocks in Asia were mixed in subdued trade with Japanese shares falling on profit-taking while shares in Australia were lifted by a stronger US dollar.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average ended down 0.6% at 16082.25 with the dollar hovering around ¥109.81, up from ¥109.65 late Tuesday in New York. The benchmark index had risen into positive territory earlier as the dollar continued on its recent upward surge and broke above the psychologically-important ¥110 mark for the first time in over six-and-a-half years. But shares later pulled back, weighed by profit-taking.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8% to 5334.10, as the Australian dollar weakened on weaker-than-expected retail sales data in August. Retail sales climbed 0.1% from a month earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said, compared with the 0.4% rise expected by economists. South Korea’s Kospi index was down 1.4%, after an HSBC’s purchasing managers’ index gauge of manufacturing activity fell to 48.8 in September, from 50.3 in August. Stocks in Taiwan were up 0.3%.