News that the US and North Korea failed to reach agreement in this week’s summit has dampened the spirits of Asia investors, and that has added to the list of geopolitical worries that includes the India-Pakistan conflict. Weaker than expected manufacturing and non-manufacturing data from China was added to the mix on the penultimate trading day of a week which started with a near 6% rise in China stocks. China’s manufacturing sector is still contracting, the purchasing managers’ index for February shows.
Nevertheless, China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped just 12 points to 2,940 points, a loss of less than 0.5% on the day. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off by a similar amount in percentage terms.
Japan’s jobless rate and Tokyo consumer price index is due on Friday morning local time. The Nikkei lost less than 1% on the day to 21,385 points. The Japanese yen moved higher as investors sought out safe havens, and that had its usual downwards impact on domestic stocks.
Again, Indian stocks were not too rattled by the escalating violence between India and Pakistan.
Markets in Europe caught the more pessimistic tone emanating from Asia and the US overnight. But losses were modest, and the Euro Stoxx 50 is just in negative territory approaching midday.
The FTSE 100 was lower despite a retreat in the pound after its recent Brexit-related gains.
FTSE 250 firm Bovis Homes (BVS) maintained the upbeat mood among housebuilders this week, notwithstanding the negative publicity surrounding Help to Buy and bonuses. Record profits and a hike in the dividend was not enough to push up the share price, which got caught up in the wider sell-off.
The unsuccessful conclusion to the Trump-Kim summit combined with weaker data set US futures up for another lower open on Thursday.
The final estimate of US fourth quarter GDP is due today, as is personal consumption data from the same quarter.
Canada’s economy is forecast to have grown by 1.4% in December from the same month in 2017. The GDP data is due on Friday.
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