Investing.com - Japanese stocks tumbled Friday, with the Nikkei
on track for its worst week since August, as evidence China's
economy is slowing sharply and rising tensions in the Ukraine fuel
The Nikkei lost 2.7% in early trade as slower-than-expected growth
in Chinese industrial production and retail sales came out just
before some markets closed in the previous session, giving Japan
and South Korea little time to react.
It was a similar story in Australia, where stocks stopped trading
on Thursday before the Chinese data was released. On Friday, the
S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.4%.
South Korea's Kospi was down 0.7%.
Chinese data out at the weekend showed a sharp decline in exports
in February, raising concerns over the health of the world's
second-largest economy. There were also jitters in the corporate
sector, with fears that another solar company could default, just a
week after China experienced its first default in its corporate
This has translated into poor performance for the week, especially
for markets linked to China. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index is 4%
lower since last Friday and the S&P/ASX 200 - a market heavy
with resource companies that sell to China - fell 2.3%.
Japan was affected the most from the downbeat sentiment, and the
Nikkei was down 5.6% over the same period.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.41%, the S&P
500 index fell 1.17%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 1.46%
News reports that Russia is conducting new military exercises in
the Crimea region of Ukraine sparked demand for safe-haven asset
classes, the dollar and yen especially, bruised equities markets
Tensions between Russia and the West have remained high ahead of
Sunday's referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region, controlled by
pro-Russian forces, on whether citizens there want to join Russia.
Leaders of the Group of Seven largest industrial nations warned
Russia on Wednesday not to annex Crimea.
In a recent joint statement, the leaders said Russian annexation of
Crimea "could have grave implications for the legal order that
protects the unity and sovereignty of all states."
Should Russia take the step, the G-7 said it would respond with
further action "individually and collectively."
European indices, meanwhile, finished lower Thursday.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 1.35%,
France's CAC 40 fell 1.29%, while Germany's DAX 30 fell 1.86%.
Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 fell 1.01%.
On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with data on producer
price inflation and preliminary data from the University of
Michigan on consumer sentiment.
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