World stocks waver as data keeps sentiment checked


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BANGKOK (AP) — World stock markets wavered Friday as weak U.S. data kept sentiment in check despite continued hopes for new stimulus measures in major economies.

Investors have been anticipating further moves by China to prop up slowing economic growth and also have continued to believe the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce additional pro-growth measures despite Fed chairman Ben Bernanke giving no indication of that in his two-day testimony to lawmakers this week.

The mood of optimism in markets the past few days linked to stimulus hopes was tempered by a batch of weak economic U.S. data. Weekly jobless claims rose 34,000 to a three-week high of 386,000 and an indicator of regional manufacturing was much weaker than anticipated. Homes sales and leading economic indicators were also soft.

“The outlook … is clouded by uncertainty surrounding the Chinese and US economies, in addition to lingering risk of a blowout in Europe,” analysts at DBS Bank in Singapore said in a report. “Growth in China has been especially critical in driving growth in Asia, and even global growth.”

As trading got underway in Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent at 5,693.68 while Germany’s DAX added 0.1 percent to 6,763.66. France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.2 percent to 3,256.01. Wall Street was poised to lose ground. Dow futures were down 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures lost 0.2 percent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.4 percent to 8,669.87 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.4 percent to 19,640.80.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.1 percent to 4,199.10 and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7 percent to 2,168.64.

Markets in Singapore, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and New Zealand also fell.

In the U.S. on Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent to 12,943.36 and the broader S&P 500 index gained 0.3 percent to 1,376.51 as strong corporate earnings buoyed investors.

Benchmark oil was down 57 cents at $92.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $2.79, about 3 percent, to $92.66 in New York on Thursday, its highest level since mid-May.

In currencies, the euro was down 0.1 percent to $1.2270. The dollar fell 0.3 percent to 78.59 yen.

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