US Jobs Data Drag Global Markets Lower
BEIJING (AP) â Asian markets fell Friday as disappointment over weak economic indicators from the United States, China and Europe offset hopes for more stimulus from central banks.
Oil fell below $96 a barrel in Asian trading after a member of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policymaking board dampened hopes for additional stimulus.
Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 1 percent to 9,085.79 and China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent to 2,109.07. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.2 percent to 19,899.2.
Traders were dismayed by U.S. data showing the number of people seeking unemployment assistance rose for a second straight week.
Markets rose Wednesday after minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed bankers favored more stimulus. But they fell Thursday after the president of the St. Louis Fed said officials were considering new data that might make further action unnecessary.
"There now once again appears to be a state of confusion as to what the market can expect from the Fed at its next meeting in mid-September," analyst Cameron Peacock of Australia's IG Markets said in a report.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's Kospi declined 0.5 percent to 1,922.79 and Taiwan's Taiex lost 0.4 percent to 7,471.94. Singapore's Straits Times Index shed 0.5 percent to 3,041.1, while Australia's S&P ASX 200 was off 0.8 percent at 4,349.3.
In China, a survey released found manufacturing activity weakened in August despite repeated government stimulus efforts. HSBC Corp. said Thursday that the preliminary version of its purchasing managers' index fell to a nine-month low of 47.8 on a scale on which numbers below 50 indicate a contraction. New export orders fell at their fastest rate in three years.
Beijing cut interest rates twice in June and is pumping money into the economy through high spending on public works. Governments of several major cities have announced their own multibillion-dollar spending plans, but analysts expect major new initiatives to be put off until after a new Communist Party leadership is installed this fall.
U.S. new home sales rose 3.6 percent in July, but DBS Group said that only offset a drop of identical size the previous month.
Aside from improved employment and retail sales in July, "the data has been unchanged or slightly worse," DBS Group economists said in a report.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.6 percent on Thursday to 13,090.09 and the broader S&P 500 dropped 0.5 percent to 1,407.15.