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Global markets in mixed end to volatile week

by April 8, 2016 General

April 9, 2016, 12:01 am TWN

LONDON — Stock markets rebounded in Europe on Friday but stumbled in Asia, capping a volatile week as investors grow concerned about the health of the global economy.

At around 1130 GMT, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.7 percent compared with Thursday’s close, aided by rising oil prices.

“There was a continued chirpiness to the global markets this morning, the FTSE even managing to hold onto its growth despite a woeful morning for UK data,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell, citing poor official manufacturing and trade figures.

“Yet the FTSE was nonplussed, the 3.0-percent rebound from Brent crude helping the index to maintain its … rise as the morning continued.”

In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 won 0.9 percent and the Paris CAC-40 also grew 0.9 percent.

“The main catalyst for this growth seems to have been the strong German trade surplus figures,” added Campbell, noting that dealers had “quickly forgotten” disappointing French industrial output data.

Hong Kong ended on a high in late buying while Tokyo also recovered from a morning sell-off to close the day in positive territory thanks the yen weakening against the dollar, giving some respite to Japanese exporters.

Dealers have taken their foot off the pedal after a March advance, with analysts saying there is a sense that central banks from Asia to the Americas are running out of options to kick start world growth.

Last month saw the European Central Bank push interest rates deeper into negative territory in a bid to ramp up lending, a policy adopted by the Bank of Japan in January. Also, the Federal Reserve has lowered its forecasts for raising borrowing costs this year and said it did not expect to make any move until after June.

Despite the moves to loosen monetary policy, growth remains stubbornly low and experts said the banks’ magic could be wearing off.

“We’re definitely moving to a risk-off scenario and there’s been a strong flight to safety,” Niv Dagan, executive director at Peak Asset Management LLC in Melbourne, told Bloomberg News.

“Investors are cautious and are extremely nervous that global central bank intervention won’t actually stimulate growth in the economy.”

The glum outlook weighed on buying sentiment elsewhere in Asia.

Shanghai slid 0.8 percent and Sydney shed 0.6 percent, while Seoul, Singapore and Wellington were also sharply lower.

However, Hong Kong ended up 0.5 percent and Japan’s Nikkei — which on Thursday rose for the first time after seven straight losses — also ended a seesaw day 0.5 percent higher.

Despite the recovery in the broader Nikkei index, market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, dived almost 13 percent after forecasting a big fall in profit this fiscal year.

Key Figures around 1130 GMT

London — FTSE 100: UP 0.7 percent at 6,182.50 points

Frankfurt — DAX 30: UP 0.9 percent at 9,619.50

Paris –- CAC-40: UP 0.9 percent at 4,282.40

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.1 percent at 2,902.10

Tokyo — Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 15,821,52 (close)

Shanghai — Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 2,984.96 (close)

Hong Kong — Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 20,370.40 (close)

New York — Dow: DOWN 1.0 percent at 17,541.96 (close)