News Column

Asian stocks fall again on dimmer growth outlook

June 11, 2014

YOUKYUNG LEE, AP Business Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Asian stock markets fell for a second day Thursday as a dimmer outlook for global growth this year gave investors a reason to lock in recent gains. New Zealand's dollar jumped after its central bank raised interest rates for the third time this year.

The World Bank cut its 2014 growth forecast Tuesday to 2.8 percent from the 3.2 percent it predicted in January, citing a harsh American winter and the tensions in Ukraine. That is still faster than 2013 growth of 2.4 percent but it means a delay in economic recovery.

The reduced forecast was first major negative news about the global recovery in recent weeks after a series of upbeat economic reports boosted investor confidence.

Japan'sNikkei 225, the regional heavyweight, declined 0.8 percent to 14,952.77. The index has gained 5.5 percent in the past month. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.3 percent to 2,009.62 following its central bank's widely expected decision to hold its policy rate.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.3 percent to 23,194.60 and Australia's S&P/ASX shed 0.4 percent to 5,435.00.

Stocks in mainland China and Indonesia were also lower.

The New Zealand dollar jumped to $0.8653 from $0.8612 late Wednesday after the country's central bank raised its benchmark lending rate by a quarter point to 3.25 percent as it tries to dampen increases in house prices.

The World Bank's growth downgrade ended a string of record highs on Wall Street. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.4 percent to 1,943.89. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.6 percent to 16,843.88. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1 percent to 4,331.93.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. oil for July delivery was up 22 cents to $104.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as data showed stockpiles in the U.S. fell more than expected last week. The contract rose 5 cents to close $104.40 on Wednesday.

In currencies, the euro rose from $1.3535 to $1.3544. The dollar rose to 102.11 yen from 101.99 yen.

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Source: Associated Press

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