The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

July 16, 2013

Asia stock markets down after US retail sales ease

SEOUL, South Korea — Weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales sent most Asian stock markets lower Tuesday as investors awaited congressional testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke later in the week.

Growth in U.S. retail sales eased to 0.4 percent in June from 0.5 percent the previous month. Americans bought more cars and trucks, furniture and clothes, but they cut back on many other purchases in a mixed sign for economic growth.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.5 percent to 1,866.42 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.1 percent at 21,291.36. China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.7 percent to 2,045.40. Markets in Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, India and New Zealand also fell. But Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.6 percent to 14,593.70.

Apart from doubt about the strength of consumer spending, which is a mainstay of the U.S. economy, an upcoming speech by Bernanke provided another reason for investors to hold back from stocks.

Investors will be looking for more clues about the central bank’s commitment to its stimulus program and its outlook for the U.S. economy when Bernanke speaks to Congress on Wednesday.    

Markets have largely shrugged off the latest evidence of China’s economic slowdown. Beijing said Monday that the world’s second-largest economy slowed to 7.5 percent growth in the second quarter from 7.7 percent in the previous quarter. But investors who feared below-7 percent growth were relieved.

In the U.S., stocks closed higher on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19.96 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 15,484.26. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.31 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,682.50. Both the Dow and S&P are at all-time highs. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 7.41 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,607.49.

In energy trading, benchmark crude for August delivery was down 15 cents at $106.17 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 37 cents to $106.32 on Monday.

The euro rose to $1.3069 from $1.3054. The dollar fell to 99.71 yen from 100.01 yen.

 

1
Text Only
Business
Poll

Do you plan on voting in the Aug. 5 elections being held in Missouri and Kansas?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
NDN Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction