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Dec 1, 2014 7:35 AM

World stocks, oil down on Chinese, US data

The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) World stocks fell on Monday after a gauge of Chinese manufacturing declined and U.S. retail sales fell Thanksgiving weekend.

Oil prices continued to fall, dragging Russia's ruble to a record low, while Hong Kong shares dived following clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX shed 0.1 percent to 9,971.40 and France's CAC 40 dropped 0.2 percent to 4,382.95. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.8 percent to 6,669.47. Futures pointed to losses on Wall Street. Dow futures fell 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures dropped 0.3 percent.

CHINA FACTORIES: A survey by HSBC Corp. showed Chinese manufacturing activity weakened in November, adding to signs an economic slowdown is deepening. HSBC said its purchasing managers' index declined to 50.0 from the previous month's 50.4 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting. The bank said domestic demand was sluggish and new orders were weak. China's economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 7.3 percent in the latest quarter.

THE QUOTE: "The November PMIs confirm that growth in China's industry remains under downward pressure," said Louis Kuijs of Royal Bank of Scotland in a report. "The surprisingly meager development of the new export order component in today's PMI indices suggests that global demand growth also remains subdued."

BLACK FRIDAY: Early discounting, more online shopping and a mixed economy meant fewer people shopped over Thanksgiving weekend, the National Retail Federation said Sunday. Overall, 133.7 million people shopped in stores and online over the four-day weekend, down 5.2 percent from last year, according to a survey of 4,631 people. Total spending for the weekend is expected to fall 11 percent to $50.9 billion from an estimated $57.4 billion last year.

HONG KONG: Police charged protesters who tried to march to Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying's office after organizers said they would step up their campaign for democratic reforms. Pro-democracy activists oppose plans that call for a panel of Beijing-friendly elites to screen candidates for Hong Kong's first direct election of its leader in 2017. The territory's finance secretary, John Tsang, expressed concern Monday that the conflict that began in September will "undermine consumer and investor confidence," holding back an economic recovery.

ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng index plunged 2.6 percent to 23,367.45. China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.1 percent to 2,680.16 while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.8 to 17,590.10. Seoul's Kospi declined 0.8 percent to 1,965.22. India's Sensex was down 0.4 percent at 28,579.39. Singapore and Sydney also declined.

OIL PLUNGE: Oil prices fell further following last week's decision by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain production levels despite weaker global demand. The U.S. benchmark fell more than 10 percent on Friday to below $70 per barrel for the first time since 2010 and is off 35 percent from its June high. On Monday, it was down another 59 cents to $65.56 a barrel.

RUSSIA HIT: The drop in oil prices is hitting markets in Russia particularly hard. The country is a big producer of oil, though not a part of OPEC, and its economy is also hurt by Western sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine. On Monday, its currency, the ruble, slumped in currency markets, sliding 4.5 percent against the dollar.

CURRENCY: The dollar fell to 118.51 yen from Friday's 118.61 yen. The euro rose to $1.2460 from $1.2448.


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