Thursday, August 4, 2011

ASIA-Shares set to stutter as growth fears persist

WELLINGTON: Asian stocks are facing an uncertain start on Thursday, with fears over the outlook for the global economy keeping investors reluctant to invest in growth-sensitive assets.

The main Wall Street indices broke a seven day losing streak on Wednesday, lifted by TECHNOLOGY [] stocks, but the overall market mood was jittery.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.9 percent on corrective buying as investors bought beaten-down stocks after the index hit negative territory for the year to date.

But the recent run of weak data continued, stoking fears over the economic outlook, with the pace of growth in the U.S. services sector falling to its lowest level since February 2010, while new factory orders fell in June.

A flagging economy may spur another round of bond buying by the Federal Reserve, media reported, giving a lift to the market in late trade.

Asian stocks listed on Wall Street fell 0.25 percent while world stocks, as measured by the MSCI world equity index, fell 0.76 percent.

British shares slumped 2.3 percent while European shares slid 2 percent, with economic fears sending commodity stocks sharply lower.

The Swiss Franc fell from record highs as the central bank cut rates, but the retreat is seen short-lived as safe-havens are likely to remain in favour.

Japanese markets are set to open flat, cheered by Wall Street's gains as markets await the central bank's policy meeting to see if it will take action to weaken the yen.

Nikkei futures traded in Chicago 15 points above the last closing level in Osaka.

Australian stocks are set to open weaker, with share price index futures up 12 points to 4,298, a 34.8 point discount to the close of the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index. ' Reuters


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