World Economy

Asia Stocks Drift Lower

Asia Stocks Drift LowerAsia Stocks Drift Lower

Asian stocks mostly drifted lower Monday as investors put Greece’s debt crisis behind them to focus on the outlook for interest rates, corporate earnings and China’s economy.

The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.4% to 3,940.50 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.2% to 25,354.70. Seoul’s Kospi was off 0.2% at 2,071.87 and Bangkok, Taiwan and Manila also fell. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1% to 5,675.20 and Singapore and New Zealand also rose. Tokyo was closed for a holiday, ABCnews reported.

Plunging stock markets appear to have stabilized at least temporarily following a massive government intervention. On Friday, the Shanghai index gained 1.5%. Analysts say it is unclear, though, whether the market will hold up once restrictions on selling are lifted. “There is a sense of relief as China seems to have found some stability,” said Citigroup in a report. “The question is whether this tentative stability will be followed by a rebound or another leg of economic weakness and, potentially, market distress.”

At Wall Street, stocks were boosted Friday by stronger-than-expected results from several companies. Google Inc. rose 16% after reporting quarterly profits and revenue that exceeded forecasts. That came after stronger quarterly reports by companies including Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase helped to encourage investors. The Standard & Poor’s 500 edged up 0.1% to finish the week with a gain of 2.4%. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.9% while the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.2%.