Global stocks mostly higher after US declines

AP and AFP

BANGKOK/HONG KONG — Global stocks were mostly higher Tuesday after Wall Street declined.

France’s CAC-40 rose 0.5 percent to 9,380.11 and Germany’s DAX gained 0.1 percent to 9,432.38. Wall Street looked poised to recover some of Monday’s losses, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 both up 0.1 percent in pre-market trading.

Ukraine suffered its deadliest violence in more than a week as fighting in the east between pro-Russian rebels and government troops killed at least 12 people and wounded 32. That came despite a Sept. 5 cease-fire agreement and assurances by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko last week that “the most dangerous part of the war” is over.

“U.S. stocks fell overnight against a geopolitical backdrop that was worsened by the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and the highest casualty count in Ukraine since a cease-fire was agreed upon,” said Desmond Chua of CMC Markets in a report.

Asian markets mostly slipped Tuesday, with Hong Kong hit for a second day as a pro-democracy protest showed no signs of abating and a gauge of Chinese manufacturing came in below forecast. Hong Kong sank 1.28 percent, or 296.23 points, to 22,932.98, extending Monday’s 1.90 percent losses. Tokyo closed 0.84 percent lower, shedding 137.12 points to 16,173.52, while Seoul gave up 0.32 percent, or 6.51 points, to end at 2,020.09. However, Sydney added 0.54 percent, or 28.58 points, to 5,292.8 and Shanghai climbed 0.26 percent, or 6.16 points, to 2,363.87 on the last day before a week-long holiday for China’s National Day. In Hong Kong a second night of mass protests passed off peacefully Monday, bringing relief after Sunday night saw police fire tear gas and pepper spray at protesters in the financial hub. The campaign comes as China’s Golden Week holiday begins on Wednesday, when big-spending mainlanders normally visit the city’s luxury stores. While there are fears about the impact on the city’s economy Laura Luo, head of Hong Kong and China equities at Baring Asset Management, said the effects of the standoff on Hong Kong stocks would be limited. Adding downward pressure on shares was HSBC’s final purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China which came in at 50.2 for September. While it was above the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction, it is lower than the 50.5 predicted in last week’s preliminary reading and adds to fears about the Chinese economy following a series of soft data. In Japan official data showed factory production unexpectedly fell 1.5 percent month-on-month in August, reversing a 0.4 percent uptick in July. Output grew at its fastest rate in more than two years in January before losing steam. Also, household spending dropped a steeper-than-expected 4.7 percent in August, logging a year-on-year drop for the fifth straight month since a sales tax rise in April. The figures raised concerns that the tax hike continues to weigh on consumption and the economy. Gold was at US$1,207.30 an ounce against US$1,219.65 late Monday.