Comment
0
Tweet
0
Print
RSS Feeds

Global stocks struggle to gain footing in new year

Friday - 1/3/2014, 1:10pm  ET

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- European stocks edged higher on Friday, recovering from a bad first day of the year, but Asian markets closed lower following declines on Wall Street.

Major indexes closed out 2013 at or near record highs, but investors seem reluctant to chase more gains in the new year. That was exacerbated by the low level of trading volumes, which analysts did not expect to pick up much until Monday.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent at 6,729.32 while Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent to 9,438.98. France's CAC-40 added 0.7 to 4,257.88.

Wall Street was expected to edge higher, with the Dow and S&P 500 futures both up 0.1 percent in electronic trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

On Thursday, U.S. stocks fell despite data showing healthy manufacturing growth in December. Analysts said prices were bound to pull back after higher corporate profits and Fed stimulus caused markets to rally in 2013.

Market sentiment has been dented also by two surveys showing manufacturing activity in China, the world's second-largest economy, weakened in December.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.2 percent to 2,083.14, adding to the previous day's 0.3 percent loss

"We expect the upcoming set of data releases to show China's economy losing steam in December," said UBS economist Tao Wang in a report.

Looking ahead, markets will focus on comments later Friday by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for indications about the possible pace of further reductions in monetary stimulus.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo was closed for the last day of its New Year's break. South Korea's Kospi gave up 1.1 percent to 1,946.14 after Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. said they expect sales growth in 2014 to be their weakest in a decade.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 2.3 percent to 22,804.1. India's Sensex shed 0.7 percent to 20,754.6. Benchmarks in Singapore, Bangkok, Malaysia and Jakarta also declined. New Zealand bucked the trend to add 0.6 percent to 5,134.97.

In currency markets, the U.S. dollar shed 0.3 percent against the Japanese yen, to 104.48 yen. The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.3643.

Benchmark oil for February delivery gained 5 cents a barrel to $95.49 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $2.98 the previous day to settle at $95.44.

___

Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.