Data from China confirmed that the nation was experiencing a slowdown and disappointed those who were hoping that the world's second largest economy was picking up steam.
However, the figures were higher than expected, which helped calm worries about a steep downturn and took some pressure off of Beijing to ramp up its stimulus efforts.
Economic growth in the nation slowed to 7.4 percent in the first quarter, down from 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. The nation's March flash PMI came in at 48.3, still far below the 50 point mark which denotes expansion.
The PMI figure did show improvement from March's PMI of 48.0 and suggested that the nation's mini-stimulus plans may be enough to stop deceleration.
In other news around the markets:
Data from the eurozone showed that the region's economic recovery was continuing, but rose some questions about the region's extremely low inflation figures. The region's composite PMI rose to 54.0 in April from 53.1 in March, the fastest pace of expansion in the eurozone since May 2011. However, the data also showed that businesses reduced their prices yet again, sparking concern about the bloc's already low inflation. As US President Barack Obama begins a week long tour of Asia, he will be faced with a difficult balancing act between his allies like Japan and China. The Chinese media has painted a picture of the US wanting to "cage" Chinese growth, but the President countered by saying although the US is open to China's rising power, he would not engage with Beijing at the expense of US allies. Alleged chlorine gas attacks in several parts of Syria could spark new problems for the nation's delicate relationship with western leaders. After Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to dispose of his chemical weapons earlier this year, the chlorine gas attacks could expose a loophole in the agreement that would allow chemical warfare to continue. The US has sent troops to Eastern Europe in order to reassure allies in the region as tension between the Ukraine and Russia continued to simmer. Violence between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces has many worried that the current standoff could develop into a larger problem.
Asian markets were mixed; the NIKKEI was up 1.09 percent, Australia's ASX 200 gained 0.70 percent and New Zealand's NZ 50 was up 0.74 percent. However the Shanghai composite lost 0.26 percent, the Shenzhen composite was down 0.03 percent and the Hang Seng index lost 0.97 percent.
European markets were down across the board with the exception of the Spanish IBEX, which gained 0.28 percent. The UK's FTSE was down 0.03 percent, the eurozone's STOXX 600 lost 0.27 percent, the German DAX lost 0.18 percent and France's CAC 40 was down 0.35 percent.
Energy futures were mixed; Brent futures were up 0.07 percent while WTI futures lost 0.43 percent. Gold lost 0.33 percent and silver was down 0.41 percent, but industrial metals were up across the board. Aluminum gained 1.39 percent, zinc was up 0.99 percent and tin gained 1.05 percent.
The euro maintained its position above $1.38 rose 0.39 percent against the pound and 0.14 percent against the yen. The dollar struggled against the yen and fell 0.13 percent, but gained 0.11 percent against the pound and 0.95 percent against the Australian dollar.
Notable earnings released on Tuesday included:
McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD ) reported first quarter EPS of $1.21 on revenue of $6.70 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $1.26 on revenue of $6.61 billion. Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN ) reported first quarter EPS of $1.87 on revenue of $4.50 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $1.96 on revenue of $4.24 billion. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T ) reported first quarter EPS of $0.71 on revenue of $32.48 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.64 on revenue of $31.36 billion. The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV ) reported first quarter EPS of $2.95 on revenue of $6.71 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $2.31 on revenue of $5.60 billion.
Stocks moving in the Premarket included:
Delta Airlines Inc. (NYSE: DAL ) was up 3.00 percent in premarket trade after gaining 2.98 percent on Tuesday. Yum! Brands Inc (NYSE: YUM ) gained 2.87 percent in premarket trade after rising 1.93 percent on Tuesday. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T ) was down 2.18 percent in premarket trade after gaining 1.71 percent over the past five days. Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL ) was up 0.88 percent in premarket trade after rising 3.18 percent over the past week.
Notable earnings releases expected on Wednesday include:
Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG ) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $1.02 on revenue of $20.73 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.99 on revenue of $20.60 billion. Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB ) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $0.24 on revenue of $2.35 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.12 on revenue of $1.46 billion. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $10.17 on revenue of $43.55 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $10.09 on revenue of $43.60 billion. Boeing Company (NYSE: BA ) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $1.58 on revenue of $21.03 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $1.73 on revenue of $18.89 billion.
Wednesday's economic calendar will be relatively busy with releases including, South Korean GDP, US new home sales, US manufacturing PMI, Eurozone services and manufacturing PMI, German services and manufacturing PMI and French services and manufacturing PMI.
For a recap of Tuesday's market action, click .
Tune into Benzinga's #PreMarket Prep show with Dennis Dick and Joel Elconin here .
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