News Column

Asian shares extend slump

January 25, 2014

Asian markets sank yesterday, extending the previous day's losses after disappointment on Wall Street about data showing the first fall in Chinese manufacturing activity in six months. Japan's Nikkei share index was suffering another bruising day after the yen rallied against the dollar in New York as investors looked for safer investments. Tokyo tumbled 1.54 per cent by the break, Hong Kong lost 0.68pc, Seoul was 0.75pc lower while Sydney shed 0.24pc. However, Shanghai rose 0.41pc. Global markets were sent tumbling on Thursday after HSBC said a preliminary reading of its purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China fell to 49.6 in January. The index is a closely watched gauge of the health of the Asian economic powerhouse. A reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below signals contraction. The last time the figure for China dropped below the critical point was in July, when it stood at 47.7. Losses on Thursday in Asia were followed by a sell-off in Europe and New York . On Wall Street the Dow dived 1.07pc, the S&P 500 fell 0.89pc and the Nasdaq lost 0.57pc. US shares were also weighed by underwhelming corporate results, including from computer maker IBM and defence giant Lockheed Martin . The weak China figures raised concerns about the global economic outlook, which in turn dampened investor appetite for riskier bets. On forex markets the yen benefitted from the subdued mood. In New York the dollar dived to 103.34 yen on Thursday from 104.39 yen earlier in the day in Tokyo . In morning Japanese trade the greenback edged back only slightly, to sit at 103.36 yen . copyright

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Source: Daily Tribune (Bahrain)

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