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Apr 23, 2015 5:03 AM

European shares fall on weak data, jitters over Greece

The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) Shares fell in Europe on Thursday, sapped by doubts over the Greek bailout plan and gloomy manufacturing data from the region, China and Japan. Asian markets were mostly higher on hopes for further economic stimulus.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent to 11,739.81 and France's CAC 40 lost 1 percent to 5,161.20. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.2 percent to 7,015.15. Wall Street likewise looked set for a slow start, with Dow and S&P futures both down 0.4 percent.

GREECE GLOOM: An agreement with Greece's European creditors on additional reforms in exchange for rescue money due for the end of April remains far off ahead of a meeting Friday in the Latvian capital of Riga. The lack of a plan to protect Greece from defaulting and even dropping the euro is clouding prospects for its recovery.

MANUFACTURING MALAISE: A preliminary survey of factory managers showed Eurozone business activity slowed in April from March's 11-month high, reflecting weaker rates of expansion for France and Germany despite accelerating growth elsewhere in the region.

THE QUOTE: "U.S. and European equities have been seeing some choppy trade with a bit of uncertainty around earnings data and Greece. This is unlikely to change in the near term and could be a deterrent for some investors for the time being," Stan Shamu, a market strategist for IG, said in a commentary.

ASIA'S DAY: Asian investors shrugged off fresh data showing economic weakness in China and Japan, as investors pinned their hopes on further stimulus measures. Japan's Nikkei 225 remained above the 20,000 mark it broached for the first time in 15 years the day before, gaining 0.3 percent to 20,187.65. The Shanghai Composite added 0.4 percent to 4,414.51 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed early gains, falling 0.4 percent to 27,827.70. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.4 percent to 2,173.41. Australia's S&P ASX/200 edged 0.1 percent higher to 5,844.80 and markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ASIA MANUFACTURING: HSBC said Thursday that a preliminary version of its index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers fell to 49.2 in April, its lowest point in a year, from 49.6 in March. Readings below 50 indicate contraction. The fresh sign that growth is faltering in the world's second biggest economy will add to pressure on policymakers in Beijing to act to stave off a sharper slowdown. Meanwhile, a similar survey in Japan showed a third straight monthly fall in manufacturing, suggesting industries are still not in full recovery mode after the recession brought on by a sales tax hike on April 1, 2014.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 26 cents to $55.90 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 45 cents to $56.16 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude fell 49 cents to $62.24 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 119.88 yen from 119.98 yen late Wednesday. The euro edged higher, to $1.0729 from $1.0725.


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