World stocks fall after China production slips

World stock markets lower after survey shows a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing growth

Associated Press
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People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm showing Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock exchange surged 261.88 to 1,578.36 in Tokyo Monday, April 22, 2013. Asian markets traded higher Monday, with Tokyo stock markets heading close to a five-year high after a meeting of global finance leaders lent support to Japan's aggressive monetary policy. The Nikkei index rose after a statement by finance ministers and central bank presidents from the world's biggest economies appeared to give its blessing to aggressive credit-easing moves pushed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying they were intended to stop prolonged deflation and support domestic demand. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

BANGKOK (AP) -- World stock markets were mostly lower Tuesday after China's manufacturing growth slowed in April, adding to worries about the health of the world's second-largest economy.

A preliminary survey by HSBC Corp. said its monthly purchasing managers' index fell to a worse-than-expected 50.5 from March's 51.6 on a 100-point scale. That comes on top of data released last week that showed an unexpected slowdown in China's first-quarter economic growth.

"It builds on that picture last week and fears of a moderating growth scenario in China," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "That set a negative tone."

Wall Street appeared set for losses. Dow Jones industrial futures fell 0.3 percent to 14,453 while S&P 500 futures shed 0.4 percent to 1,549.90. European stocks were mixed. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent to 6,298.92. Germany's DAX fell 0.4 percent to 7,446.25. France's CAC-100 advanced 0.8 percent to 3,683.85.

Investors this week will be turning their focus to corporate profits. About a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index will report earnings this week. Later Tuesday, Apple Inc., AT&T and DuPont Co. will be among companies reporting earnings.

Asian stocks closed lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.1 percent to 21,806.61. Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 2.6 percent to 2,184.54. The Shenzhen Composite Index plunged 2.7 percent to 923.42.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index slipped as the yen gained ground against the dollar. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.3 percent to close at 13,529.65. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia also fell. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1 percent to 5,016.20.

European stocks rose Monday in response to the weekend re-election of Giorgio Napolitano as president of recession-mired Italy. He can now dissolve Parliament and call new elections, something he could not do in the final months of his first term. The country has been hobbled by political gridlock after inconclusive elections in February.

However, Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets in London, suggested in a commentary that Napolitano's selection by parliament reflected Italy's political chaos and the inability of its lawmakers to agree on a candidate apart from the incumbent who was planning to retire.

"Despite the optimism the inescapable fact remains that it is a sad state of affairs when an 87 year old man has to stand for re-election in an attempt to try and move the country forward."

Among individual stocks, Australia's Woodside Petroleum shot up 9.7 percent after the oil and gas company announced a special dividend and increased its dividend payout ratio after cutting a major LNG project.

Virgin Australia Holdings jumped 4.6 percent after the airline received approval from Australia's competition regulator for a takeover of budget rival Tiger Airways.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down $1.08 to $88.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for May gained 75 cents to close at $88.76 on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2979 from $1.3060 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 98.72 yen from 99.42 yen.

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Follow Pamela Sampson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pamelasampson

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