World stocks muted as Fed measures boost fades

World stock markets muted as boost from Fed economy measures fades

Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) -- Global stock markets were muted Monday as the boost faded from the Federal Reserve's announcement last week of new measures to energize the U.S. economy.

Oil fell, reversing earlier gains, while the dollar came off a four-month low versus the euro.

In early European trading, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.3 percent to 3,569.61 and the FTSE 100 index of leading British companies lost 0.2 percent to 5,904.13. Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent to 7,405.03.

U.S. stocks were poised to fall. Dow futures were down 0.1 percent to 13,501.00 and broader S&P 500 futures shed 0.2 percent to 1,456.20.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1 percent to close at 20,658.11 and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.3 percent to end at 2,002.35.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.3 percent higher to 4,402.50.

Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia rose. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

Indian stocks rose after the country's central bank cut the cash reserve ratio and the government opened its huge market to foreign retailers in a bid to kick-start flagging economic growth.

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 2.1 percent to 2,078.50 while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index plunged 2.9 percent to 864.19.

Global stock markets rallied late last week after the Fed announced it planned to buy $40 billion of mortgage bonds a month for as long as necessary as part of a strategy known as quantitative easing aimed at encouraging people to borrow money and spend it. The Fed also extended its pledge to keep short-term interest rates low until 2015, a year longer than its previous target.

While investors were still in the mood to take on more risk, "the risk of profit taking has grown given the pace and magnitude of recent moves," strategists at Credit Agricole CIB said in a research note.

Andrew Sullivan, principal sales trader at Piper Jaffray Asia Securities, said this week was a key one for stock markets because investors have now seen most of the possible stimulus measures available to policymakers in major economies — with the possible exception of China.

"If markets don't rally and volumes don't increase this week then they are unlikely to during the rest of the year," Sullivan said. He said he had doubts that investors would return to the markets.

Uncertainties include the European Union's simmering debt crisis and the state of the U.S. economic recovery, he said. Sullivan also speculated that Chinese authorities could unveil economic stimulus measures ahead of a Communist Party congress expected this autumn to hand over power to a younger generation. The date for that meeting has still not been set.

Hong Kong property companies fell after authorities announced more measures on Friday to tighten requirements for mortgage borrowers to prevent overheating in the property market. Sino Land Co. fell 1.8 percent and New World Development Co. fell 1.3 percent. Henderson Land Development Co. fell 0.6 percent.

Crude for October delivery was down 12 cents to $98.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract finished up 69 cents to $99 per barrel in New York on Friday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3098 from $1.3117 late Friday. The dollar rose to 78.36 Japanese yen from 77.30 yen.

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Researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed to this report.

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