World Economy

World Stocks Lower

World Stocks LowerWorld Stocks Lower

Stock markets slid sharply on Friday and the dollar fell after US non-farm payrolls numbers came in well short of forecast, adding to concerns over the pace of economic growth that have weakened investors’ appetite for risk globally.

Futures prices showed Wall Street set to open as much as half a percent lower ESc1 while stock markets in Europe deepened morning falls, sending global indices towards their worst weekly losses since early February, news outlets reported.

Earlier Asian markets had fallen by as much as 2-3%, helping prod the MSCI world index some 2% lower on the week, a reflection of the gloom which has begun to grip global investors again.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.3% to close at 16,106.72 as Tokyo resumed trading after the three-day “Golden Week” national holidays. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.2% higher to 5,292.00, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 1.7% to 20,109.87. The Shanghai Composite sank 2.8% to 2,913.25. Markets were closed in South Korea for a national holiday.

France’s CAC 40 fell 1.6% to 4,251, and Germany’s DAX lost 1% to 9,754. Britain’s FTSE 100 was 0.9% lower to 6,063. US shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 0.6% and S&P 500 futures down 0.6%.

The dollar, battered by the collapse since February in expectations for rises in US interest rates this year, handed back all of the day’s gains against the euro and a basket of currencies to stand roughly 0.3% lower.

The euro fell to $1.144 from $1.149 and the dollar declined to 106.52 yen from 107.10 yen.

Benchmark US crude oil lost 45 cents to $43.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 54 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 75 cents at $44.26 a barrel in London.

The report showed the US economy added the fewest number of jobs in seven months in April, only 160,000 compared to expectations of around 200,000.

“The labor market has been a shining beacon compared with other elements of the US economy for the past few months, but no longer,” said Dennis de Jong, managing director of London based broker

“Today’s figure has come in disappointingly low.”

The slower pace may raise uncertainty over the economy’s growth, though wages showed signs of picking up. Overall, the data suggests the Fed may be marginally less likely to raise its interest rates again next month.