May 18, 2015 5:06 AM

World stock markets uneven as weak data clouds outlook

The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) World stock markets were uneven Monday as weak data from the U.S. and China clouded the outlook for the global economy while Greece and its European creditors remained apart on bailout terms.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX rose 0.7 percent to 11,520.92 and Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent to 6,977.46. France's CAC 40 gained 0.1 percent to 5,000.89. Many Asian markets fell. Wall Street looked set for a moody start to the week. Dow futures were little changed and S&P 500 futures fell 0.1 percent.

CAUTION APLENTY: A slew of disappointing data from the U.S. and signs of weakness in China, along with uncertainties over the Greek debt situation, have left investors cautious, analysts say. Volatility in the bond market is another factor adding to perceived risks, though the lackluster growth in the U.S. has reinforced expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will bide its time in raising interest rates.

THE QUOTE: "Greece will be front and center this week as the country looks to secure a deal with its creditors while avoiding harsh austerity. The government reinforced it won't back down on its election promise to end austerity but this is likely to be a lot harder than they are leading on," Stan Shamu, market strategist for IG, said in a commentary.

JAPAN DATA: Japan's report of stronger than forecast machinery orders in March boosted confidence that the recovery may be gaining ground, though most analysts expect the central bank to keep its ultra-loose stance unchanged during this week's policy meeting. Machinery orders, seen as a key indicator of capital investment, rose 2.9 percent in March from the month before. The better-than-forecast data was mostly due to rising orders from non-manufacturing companies. It could contribute to a quarterly rise in private, non-residential investment, due Wednesday along with GDP data that are expected to show a modest improvement.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.8 percent to 19,890.27. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.8 percent to 27,591.25 as investors cashed in gains from Friday's advance. South Korea's Kospi rebounded from losses to gain 0.3 percent to 2,113.72. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.6 percent to 4,283.49 and Australia's S&P ASX/200 lost 1.3 percent to 5,659.20. New Zealand was higher while markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 55 cents to $60.27 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 19 cents to $59.69 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, gained 30 cents to $67.12 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The euro slipped $1.1378 from $1.1390 on Friday. The dollar climbed to 119.64 yen from 119.38 yen on Friday.


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