World shares extend losses ahead of US economic growth data
BANGKOK – Shares edged lower in Europe on Friday following a lackluster day in Asia ahead of the release of U.S. economic growth data later in the day.
Benchmarks fell Friday in Paris, London, Tokyo and Shanghai but rose in Hong Kong and Sydney.
Economists have been upgrading their estimates, with many forecasting that GDP expanded at an annual rate of close to 3% in the first three months of the year. That would be up a full percentage point from previous estimates.
Germany’s DAX was nearly unchanged early Friday at 12,280.80 while the CAC40 in Paris lost 2.33 points to 5,555.34.
Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.3% to 7,411.37.
Wall Street looked set for a weak open, with the future contract for the Dow down 0.1% and that for the S&P 500 also off 0.1%.
In Asian trading, concern that China may temper its economic stimulus pulled benchmarks lower for a second straight day.
The Shanghai Composite index fell 1.2% to 3,086.40 while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.2% to 22,258.73.
South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.5% to 2,179.31. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged 0.1% higher to 6,385.60, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.2% to 29,605.01.
India’s Sensex jumped 0.9% to 39,066.97.
Shares fell in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand but rose in Jakarta.
China-U.S. trade talks are again on the agenda, for next week in Beijing, with further talks in Washington slated for May 8.
President Donald Trump has said his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, might be visiting the White House soon, but the timing remained unclear. Progress on a deal resolving a conflict over Beijing’s technology policies that has involved billions of dollars in tariffs being imposed on each other’s products would reassure investors who have been rattled by the uncertainty.
In the U.S., earnings reporting season is about a third of the way in, and investors are searching for clues about whether profit growth can accelerate later this year following a weak first quarter.
Analysts are forecasting a drop of 2.8% in earnings for S&P 500 companies this time around, not as bad as the 4% decline they were expecting a few weeks ago.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gave up $1.07 to $64.14 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 68 cents to $65.21 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, plunged $1.20 to $72.43 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar was trading at 111.74 Japanese yen, up from 111.63 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1141 from $1.1333. /gsg
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