Stock Exchanges: Shares Mixed over Economic Data
STOCK EXCHANGES – Stock exchanges in Asia traded weakly on Friday, with South Korea being under pressure after banks downgraded GDP forecasts.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan dropped 0.2 percent.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.8 percent. January-March industrial output has slumped 2.6 percent, which was its biggest fall since April-June 2014, according to the data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).
In China, Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component slipped 0.7 percent. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong inched 0.1 percent up.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said during the opening ceremony of the country’s Belt and Road forum that China would tighten intellectual property protection rules and “stop arbitrary technology transfer.”
“We will more effectively engage in international macroeconomic policy coordination,” said Xi, based on the official English translation of the speech. “A globalized economy calls for global governance. China will strengthen macro policy coordination with major economies to generate a positive spillover.”
In South Korea, the KOSPI slipped 0.5 percent. According to reports, three analysts from different investment banks lowered their GDP forecasts for 2019. The downward revision came after data showed that the country’s first-quarter GDP data shrank unexpectedly.
Other Market Figures
Meanwhile, Wall Street finished the previous trading session with mixed performance after a host of earnings reports. Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.51 percent, while the S&P 500 shed 0.04 percent. The NASDAQ gained 0.21 percent, however.
In the currency markets, the US dollar index, which tracks the dollar’s strength against a basket of six other major currencies, was 0.8 percent firmer for the week so far, trading at 98.145 after hitting its highest since May 2017.
“The dollar will remain bid in this environment while data continues to look more favorable from the US, especially with regard to the EU,” said an analyst. “Tonight’s US GDP print could be crucial from a technical point of view. If we see a good number, it will probably see the euro targeting a key psychological level of $1.1000.”
The euro lost 1 percent for the week at $1.1133, with euro zone economic data continuing to be lackluster.
Against the yen, the dollar was sideways at 111.61 after losing 0.5 percent overnight, though it was slightly supported by the robust US durable goods orders data.
In the commodity markets, spot gold also traded sideways at $1,280.12 per ounce. Brent crude futures dropped 21 cents at $74.14 per barrel. US crude was last seen trading at $64.84 per barrel, down 37 cents.
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