Global stocks mostly lower as China jitters linger
AP and AFP February 26, 2014, 12:45 am TWN
BEIJING/HONG KONG--Global stocks were mostly lower Tuesday amid jitters about China's housing market and weakness in the country's currency.
Futures for the Standard & Poor's 500 and Dow Jones industrial average both were down 0.1 percent. In Europe, Germany's DAX's declined 0.4 percent to 9,671.29 and France's CAC-40 shed 0.5 percent to 4,399.48. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.6 percent to 6,825.54.
Asian markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday ahead of the release of key U.S. data, as a strong lead from Wall Street was offset by profit-taking while Chinese shares were hit by fresh liquidity concerns.
Tokyo jumped 1.44 percent, or 213.92 points, to 15,051.60 and Seoul added 0.81 percent, or 15.81 points, to close at 1,964.86.
However, Hong Kong lost 0.32 percent, or 71.36 points, to end at 22,317.20 while Shanghai gave up earlier gains and closed 2.04 percent lower, shedding 42.47 points to 2,034.22, and Sydney eased 0.12 percent, or 6.4 points, to 5,433.8.
With few catalysts to drive business, attention has turned to the U.S. economic figures including gross domestic product growth due out on Friday.
This week will also see the release of February consumer confidence, durable goods orders and initial jobless claims.
The results will be closely watched as they will give the clearest snapshot of economic health this year, with previous releases skewed by severe winter weather at the end of last year and the start of this one.
On Wall Street U.S. shares pushed higher Monday, with analysts saying investors were growing more confident about the U.S. recovery and viewed recent weak figures as the result of the bad weather.
The broad-market S&P 500 rose 0.62 percent, just short of a record high, while the Dow added 0.64 percent and the Nasdaq was up 0.69 percent.
While Asian shares suffered a pull-back Tuesday, global markets have in recent weeks clawed back some of the losses they suffered in January that were fuelled by the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to cut its stimulus program for a second straight month.
Cash Fears Return to China
In China fresh concerns over liquidity in financial markets spooked investors as the country's central bank effectively drew cash out of the system as it continues to fret over possible bad debts among lenders.
The move sparked worries of another cash crunch similar to those seen last year that sent stocks plunging.
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