World Economy

World Shares Mixed

World Shares MixedWorld Shares Mixed

World shares were mixed on Monday as investors evaluated China’s annual economic growth forecast and pledges for further reforms. Italian shares slumped after uncertain election results paved the way for political deadlock.

France’s CAC 40 was up 0.4% at 5,159.70, Germany’s DAX rose 0.3% to 11,954.18 and Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4% to 7,099.34. But Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB sank 1.3% to 21,630.86. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow futures lost 0.2% to 24,487.00 and broader S&P 500 futures fell 0.2% to 2,683.70, AP reported.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.7% to close at 21,042.09 and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 1.1% to end at 2,375.06. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 2.3% to 29,886.39 but the Shanghai Composite in mainland China recouped losses, rising in the final minutes of trading to edge 0.1% higher to 3,256.93. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.6% to 5,895.00. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also lost ground.

Beijing set an annual growth target for the world’s No. 2 economy of “around 6.5%” for 2018. Premier Li Keqiang announced that at the opening of the annual legislative session. That’s down from a 6.9% expansion last year, but still robust. Li also outlined plans to forge ahead with an overhaul of state industry, ramp up military spending and pursue advanced technology.

A survey showed that activity in China’s services industry cooled slightly last month but remained solidly in expansion mode. Caixin’s general services purchasing managers’ index dipped to 54.2 in February from 54.7 the previous month, on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 signify expansion.

The dollar fell to a fresh 17-month low, weakening to ¥105.51 from ¥105.74 late Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.233 from $1.232. Oil futures extended gains. Benchmark US crude rose 57 cents to $61.82 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York. The contract rose 26 cents to settle at $61.25 per barrel last Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 47 cents to $64.84 a barrel.

Most emerging currencies weakened around 0.3-0.5% to the dollar. Export-reliant Asian bourses such as Hong Kong and Seoul closed 1-2% lower.

The growth concerns pushed investors towards Bunds, with 10-year German yields falling to nearly six-week lows. Yields on 10-year Italian government bonds jumped 10 basis points at the open, reversing some of the gains they had enjoyed in the run-up to the election but they later clawed back some losses to trade 6.5 bps higher.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints