World stock markets slip on China growth jitters

AP and AFP

TOKYO/HONG KONG–Stock markets fell Monday ahead of a preliminary manufacturing survey from China that might show renewed weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.

Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to 6,799.98 after shares in major retailer Tesco plunged on the news it had overestimated its half-year expected profit by 250 million pounds (about US$409 million). France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.4 percent to 4,442.70 and Germany’s DAX slipped 0.4 percent to 9,764.44. U.S. stocks were set to start the week lower, with Dow futures down 0.3 percent to 17,156. S&P 500 futures lost 0.5 percent to 1,993.30.

A pledge of further stimulus from finance chiefs of the Group of 20 industrial nations over the weekend appeared to fall flat amid deepening concern over faltering recoveries in major economies apart from the U.S. Finance chiefs from the G-20, representing about 85 percent of the global economy, said Sunday they are close to reaching a goal set in February of boosting world GDP by more than US$2 trillion over the next five years, and will focus on infrastructure investment to help reach the target. But they also warned that despite improving economic conditions in some key economies, growth remains uneven and below the pace necessary to generate critically needed jobs.

New Zealand’s share market benchmark rose 1.3 percent to 5,619.97 on gains in energy stocks following an election victory Saturday for the ruling National Party over the Labour Party, which had promised to lower energy prices. Asian markets mostly slipped Monday on profit-taking after the big gains at the end of last week. Tokyo, which on Friday ended at an almost seven-year high, slipped 0.71 percent, or 115.27 points to 16,205.90, while Sydney shed 1.29 percent, or 70.1 points, to 5,363.0. Seoul lost 0.71 percent, or 14.55 points, to 2,039.27. Shanghai fell 1.70 percent, or 39.59 points, to 2,289.87 and Hong Kong sank 1.44 percent, or 350.67 points, to 23,955.49 as investors await the release Tuesday of preliminary manufacturing data out of China.