World stocks fall as US earnings underwhelm

World stock markets fall as US earnings underwhelm while weaker yen supports Japan shares

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) -- World stock markets stalled Tuesday after disappointing U.S. corporate earnings dimmed optimism about the world's No. 1 economy ahead of key data later in the week.

European shares fell in early trading and Wall Street appeared headed for losses ahead.

Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.7 percent to 5,838.98. Germany's DAX shed 0.9 percent to 7,262.96. France's CAC-40 slipped 0.7 percent to 3,460.03.

Dow Jones industrial futures lost 0.6 percent to 13,211 and S&P 500 futures fell 0.8 percent to 1,419.20.

The picture was a bit more mixed in Asia. Japan's Nikkei 225 index eked out a marginal gain of 0.04 percent to close at 9,014.25 a day after the country's currency fell to a three-month low against the dollar.

A weak yen helps Japan's mammoth export sector by raising the value of company profits repatriated from abroad. Still, grim export data — which Monday showed a 10 percent drop in exports for September compared with a year earlier — kept advances in check.

South Korea's Kospi declined 0.8 percent to 1,926.81. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added less than 0.1 percent to 4,543.10.

Benchmarks in Singapore, New Zealand and the Philippines rose while Indonesia and Taiwan fell.

Mainland Chinese stocks lost ground, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 0.9 percent to 2,114.45. The Shenzhen Composite Index lost 1.4 percent to 869.96.

"There is some pressure on the mainland markets after the recent gains and they might be unstable in the near term," said Peng Yunliang, an analyst based in Shanghai.

Hong Kong markets were closed for a public holiday.

Industrial equipment shares fell after Caterpillar, the U.S. construction and mining equipment giant, warned Monday that it expects lower profit and revenue for the rest of the year. South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries lost 3.3 percent. Japan's Komatsu Ltd. fell 0.4 percent.

U.S. stock markets were nearly flat Monday after investors were hit with more underwhelming third-quarter earnings reports. Another batch of quarterly financial results is expected later Tuesday. Companies reporting include E.I. du Pont de Nemours, Netflix and United Parcel Service.

Lorraine Tan, director at Standard & Poor's equity research in Singapore, said further corporate news out of the U.S. is "not expected to be all that great" and that as a result, markets were likely to be volatile ahead of the release of U.S. third-quarter GDP on Friday.

"Things could be a little choppy this week," she said. In addition to GDP data, the government will also release new home sales and durable goods orders.

The U.S. Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting Tuesday, but no major announcements are expected. Instead, officials will likely affirm their plan to buy mortgage bonds as long as necessary to make home buying more affordable, keep short-term interest rates at record lows through mid-2015 and take other steps if hiring doesn't pick up.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3040 from $1.3045 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 79.81 yen from 79.89 yen.

Benchmark oil for December delivery was down 14 cents to $88.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.32 to finish at $88.73 in New York.


AP researcher Fu Ting contributed from Shanghai.

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