Thursday, March 22, 2012

asian stock markets down march 23 2012

asian stock markets down march 23 2012 ; ASIAN stockmarkets fell today as weak Chinese and eurozone manufacturing data sparked fresh concerns about the global growth outlook.

As Australia's S&P/ASX 200 benchmark index declined 0.3 per cent, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.1 per cent, South Korea's Kospi Composite dropped 0.3 per cent and New Zealand's NZX-50 lost 0.3 per cent.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up six points in screen trade. Resources and energy stocks were sold off heavily after copper futures fell to their lowest level in two-weeks overnight, and crude oil futures dropped to a one-week low, as traders worried about a global downturn in demand.

Copper was recently trading 0.7 per cent higher, while Nymex May crude futures were up US33 cents at $US105.68 a barrel on Globex.

Spot gold was at $US1646.70 per troy ounce, up $US1.80 from its New York settlement yesterday.

In Sydney, BHP Billiton lost 1.5 per cent, Rio Tinto fell 2 per cent and Santos dropped 1.7 per cent.

The safe-haven Japanese yen and US dollar were consolidating after their recent strong gains, as fresh evidence of slowing global growth had traders scrambling to cut their exposure to riskier assets.

The regional mood was dimmed by losses in Wall Street and European stockmarkets overnight, after poor Chinese manufacturing data was followed by disappointing eurozone manufacturing activity.

"A lot of the rally in equities this year has been premised on global growth surprises, which have started rolling over, so people are taking profits," said IG Markets institutional dealer Chris Weston in Sydney. "A lot of funds will need to rebalance because US equities had a massive outperformance against bonds this quarter. The chances of a correction have heightened, but I don't expect this to turn into an all out risk-off."

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