Asian stocks fall after IMF downgrades economic outlook

/ 03:01 PM October 09, 2018

An investor walks in front of private stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Oct. 9, 2018.  AP

SINGAPORE — Asian markets are mostly lower after the IMF downgraded its economic outlook, citing rising interest rates and mounting tensions over trade.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.4 percent to 23,457.00 on Tuesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 26,261.26. The Shanghai Composite index extended its losses by 0.1 percent to 2,712.67, after tumbling 3.7 percent on Monday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gave up 1.0 percent to 6,041.10. Stocks rose in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia but fell in Singapore. Markets in South Korea were closed for a national holiday.


WALL STREET: Banks advanced and technology companies sank for the third day in a row on Monday. Bond markets were closed, leading U.S. indexes to a mixed finish after a day of light trading. The S&P 500 index edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,884.43, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 percent to 26,486.78. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.7 percent to 7,735.95. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 0.2 percent to 1,629.51.

IMF DOWNGRADE: The International Monetary Fund revised its outlook for the world economy, citing rising interest rates and growing tensions over trade. It said the global economy will grow 3.7 percent this year, the same as in 2017 but down from the 3.9 percent it was forecasting for 2018 in July. The report comes on the eve of the Oct. 12-14 meetings in Bali, Indonesia, of the IMF and its sister lending organization, the World Bank.


READ: IMF cuts global growth forecast to 3.7% for 2018, 2019 as risks rise

US-CHINA TALKS: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington had a “fundamental disagreement” and “great concerns” about Chinese actions, before a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and another senior official in Beijing on Monday. Pompeo said that he was looking forward to discussions, but his polite, edgy tone shone a spotlight on deteriorating U.S.-China relations. The Trump administration has confronted China on its technology policies and territorial claims in the South China Sea, and the countries have raised tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other’s goods.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Renewed tension between the US and China has capped risk sentiment as a range of issues from trade to diplomacy are likely to challenge China-US relationship,” Zhu Huani of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

GOOGLE SLIPS: On Monday, Google said it will shut its Plus social network because a flaw may have caused the leak of personal information belonging to as many as 500,000 people. Google found the problem in March. The winding down of operations will end next August, to give customers time to download and migrate their data. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, fell 1 percent to $1,155.92.

ENERGY: Benchmark US crude added 38 cents to $74.67 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 0.1 percent to settle at $74.29 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 42 cents to $84.33 per barrel. It dropped 0.3 percent to $83.91 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 113.08 yen from 113.21 yen on Monday. The euro fell to $1.1485 from $1.1489. /ee

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