Asia stock markets lower after survey shows a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing growth

BANGKOK – Asian stock markets fell Tuesday after China’s manufacturing growth slowed in April, adding to worries about the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

A preliminary survey by HSBC Corp. said its monthly purchasing managers’ index fell to 50.5 from March’s 51.6 on a 100-point scale. That comes on top of data released last week that showed an unexpected slowdown in China’s first-quarter economic growth.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.3 per cent to 21,760.02. In Mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 2.2 per cent to 2,193.39. The Shenzhen Composite Index lost 1.5 per cent to 934.70.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index slipped as the yen gained ground against the dollar. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.3 per cent to 13,530.01. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia also fell. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8 per cent to 5,006.70.

European stocks rose Monday in response to the re-election Saturday of Giorgio Napolitano as president of recession-mired Italy. He can now dissolve Parliament and call new elections, something he could not do in the final months of his first term. The country has been hobbled by political gridlock after inconclusive elections in February.

However, Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets, suggested in a commentary that Napolitano’s selection by parliament reflected Italy’s political chaos and the inability of its lawmakers to agree on a candidate apart from the incumbent who was planning to retire.

“Despite the optimism the inescapable fact remains that it is a sad state of affairs when an 87 year old man has to stand for re-election in an attempt to try and move the country forward.”

On Wall Street on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.1 per cent to close at 14,567.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.5 per cent, to 1,562.50. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.9 per cent, to 3,233.55.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 39 cents to $88.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for May gained 75 cents to close at $88.76 on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3052 from $1.3060 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 98.87 yen from 99.42 yen.


Follow Pamela Sampson on Twitter at