Global shares mostly lower despite US stocks' gains

MANILA, Philippines – Global shares were mostly lower Thursday despite gains on Wall Street as a weaker dollar negatively impacted Japanese stocks and investors weighed risks given the Federal Reserve’s cautious stance about tightening rates.

Financial markets were closed for holidays in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

KEEPING SCORE: European indices were mostly down in early trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.8 per cent at 6,253. Germany’s DAX fell 1.3 per cent to 10,086.04. France’s CAC 40 lost 1.1 per cent to 4,400.74. U.S. futures indicated a bleak opening on Wall Street, with the Dow futures down 0.3 per cent and S&P futures down 0.4 per cent.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “The Fed being more cautious about tightening rates should negatively impact stocks, since they are worried about the state of the economy and its ability to withstand higher interest rates,” said IG Market Strategist Bernard Aw. “Make no mistake, the cautious undertone pervades the financial markets.”

SOUTH KOREA’S ECONOMY: Bank of Korea surprised investors by slashing its key interest rate to a record low 1.25 per cent for the month of June. The move is the first rate cut in Asia’s fourth-largest economy in a year. Most market analysts had expected the bank to lower interest rates later in the year, anticipating slower growth in the second half. Low oil prices have hit South Korea shipyards and other major exporters.

JAPAN MACHINERY ORDERS: Tokyo shares fell after the government reported that core domestic private machinery orders, excluding volatile orders for ships and electric utilities, fell 11 per cent in April from the month before, suggesting prolonged weakness in capital investment. Foreign machinery orders also fell, 6.9 per cent month-on-month in April.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 1 per cent to 16,668.41. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 slipped 0.2 per cent at 5,361.90. South Korea’s KOSPI was 0.1 per cent lower at 2,024.17. The Philippines’ PSE index was down 2.4 per cent at 7,536.65. Singapore’s FTSE Strait Times index shed early gains, losing 0.4 per cent at 2,852.48.

OIL: U.S. crude shed 21 cents to $51.02 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 87 cents on Wednesday to $51.23 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, fell 58 cents to $51.94 a barrel in London. On Wednesday, it rose $1.07 to $52.51.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 106.46 yen from 106.94 yen the previous day. The euro dropped to $1.1348 from $1.1397.