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World stock markets mostly fall as weak US, China data, Greek uncertainty cloud outlook

TOKYO – World stock markets mostly fell on Monday as weak data from the U.S. and China and uncertainty over Greece clouded the outlook for the global economy.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 per cent to 11,424.60 and Britain’s FTSE 100 shed 0.1 per cent to 6,952.24. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.9 per cent to 4,946.69. Many Asian markets fell. Wall Street looked set for a weak start to the week. Dow futures were down 0.1 per cent and S&P 500 futures fell 0.2 per cent.

CAUTION APLENTY: A slew of disappointing data from the U.S. and signs of weakness in China, along with uncertainties over the Greek debt situation, have left investors cautious. Greece said Monday it needs to reach a deal with creditors to get more bailout cash by the end of the month if it to avoid default. Its financial markets fell across the board.

Volatility in global bond markets is another factor adding to perceived risks, though the lacklustre growth in the U.S. has reinforced expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will bide its time in raising interest rates.

THE QUOTE: “Greece will be front and centre this week as the country looks to secure a deal with its creditors while avoiding harsh austerity. The government reinforced it won’t back down on its election promise to end austerity but this is likely to be a lot harder than they are leading on,” Stan Shamu, market strategist for IG, said in a commentary.

JAPAN DATA: Japan’s report of stronger than forecast machinery orders in March boosted confidence that the recovery may be gaining ground, though most analysts expect the central bank to keep its ultra-loose stance unchanged during this week’s policy meeting. Machinery orders, seen as a key indicator of capital investment, rose 2.9 per cent in March from the month before. The better-than-forecast data was mostly due to rising orders from non-manufacturing companies. It could contribute to a quarterly rise in private, non-residential investment, due Wednesday along with GDP data that are expected to show a modest improvement.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.8 per cent to 19,890.27. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.8 per cent to 27,591.25 as investors cashed in gains from Friday’s advance. South Korea’s Kospi rebounded from losses to gain 0.3 per cent to 2,113.72. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.6 per cent to 4,283.49 and Australia’s S&P ASX/200 lost 1.3 per cent to 5,659.20. New Zealand was higher while markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 84 cents to $60.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 19 cents to $59.69 a barrel on Friday.

CURRENCIES: The euro slipped $1.1388 from $1.1390 on Friday. The dollar climbed to 119.72 yen from 119.38 yen on Friday.

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