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Shares, euro sag after euro zone PMIs disappoint

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: April 23rd, 2015 | 0 Comments


LONDON (Reuters) – World shares weathered soft readings on Chinese and Japanese manufacturing on Thursday which served to recharge expectations of more policy stimulus there, though lackluster euro zone data was less well received.

European stock markets initially opened higher, spurred by multi-year highs in Asia, but sluggish euro zone and German purchasing manager data and conflicting data from France sent indexes into the red.

Overall, euro zone private sector business growth was weaker than forecast, despite help for exporters from a big fall in the euro and the launch in March of a much-awaited sovereign bond buying program from the European Central Bank.

“There was very little positive to take away from the French numbers,” said Timo Del Carpio, a European economist at RBC in London. “So far the signal is that it is a weak start to the second quarter.”

The euro headed lower against the dollar but European bond markets steadied after UK gilts GB10YT=RR and German Bunds DE10YT=RR had led a lively sell-off on Wednesday.

Asian stocks distracted from worries about Greece’s future, with a 15-year peak for Japan, seven years for both China and Taiwan and a near four-year top for South Korea. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.5 percent to reach ground last trod in early 2008.

The HSBC China manufacturing PMI hit a one-year trough of 49.2 in April, bucking a consensus for it to hold steady at 49.6, and the Markit/JMMA flash PMI eased to 49.7 in April from a final 50.3 in March.

But that merely added to speculation that central banks in both countries would keep up stimulus.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 ended up 0.3 percent, South Korea .KS11 gained 1.4 percent and Shanghai stocks .SSEC climbed as much as 1 percent, with investors still emboldened by a commentary in state media saying the bull market “has just begun”.

“Investors only care about the attitude of the government, which has so far appeared tolerant (of the rise in markets),” said Du Changchun, analyst at Northeast Securities in Shanghai.

DOLLAR RESILIENT

With U.S PMIs and another batch of company earnings [RESF/US][NSP500/WK] due later, early futures prices pointed to a subdued start for Wall Street ESc1 after the previous session’s 0.4-0.5 percent gains for the main U.S. markets.

The dollar was on the rise again and sterling, which had jumped with UK gilt yields on Wednesday after minutes of the Bank of England’s last policy meeting, eased to $1.4980.

The New Zealand dollar also took a hit after a central banker said rate cuts could be considered if domestic demand and inflationary pressures were to weaken. The currency shed half a U.S. cent to $0.7562 NZD=D4.

The euro eased to $1.0684 EUR=, stuck in the $1.0520-$1.0849 range of the past few weeks. Traders remain sensitive to worries about Greece, but clear signals on that front are unlikely before Monday’s Eurogroup meeting.

“Greek banks are assessed to be solvent,” said ECB board member Peter Praet at an event in Berlin, but added: “It is true that it is a stressful situation.” Greece’s banks depend on funding approved by the ECB.

Against the yen, the dollar was firm around 119.86 JPY= and on track for its fourth straight session of gains.

Spot gold XAU= nudged up to $1,189 an ounce after its sharpest single-session loss since March 6 on Wednesday.

Oil prices were a fraction softer with Brent LCOc1 quoted at $62.69 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 dipped 34 cents to $55.97.

(Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by John Stonestreet/Ruth Pitchford)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/rIGHmCjuiD4/story01.htm

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