World markets flat amid concerns about tepid economic growth in China


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — World markets were lackluster Monday amid concerns about slowing economic growth in China and more poor earnings from banks. Wall Street was closed for a holiday.

Official figures on showed China’s economy grew 7.7 percent in the quarter through December, down from 7.8 percent the previous quarter. For the full year, the economy expanded 7.7 percent, tying 2012 for the weakest performance since the 1990s.

China’s growth is far stronger than the United States, Japan or Europe. But an unexpectedly abrupt decline from the double digit rates of the previous decade has complicated the ruling Communist Party’s plans to promote more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption and reduce reliance on trade and investment.

“The ‘boom’ is ending, but sustained demand is just as important,” said Evan Lucas, market strategist with IG in Melbourne, Australia.

Britain’s FTSE 100 closed 0.1 percent higher at 6,836.73 while France’s CAC 40 shed 0.1 percent to 4,322.86.

Germany’s DAX dropped 0.3 percent to 9,715.90, led by a 5.4 percent fall in Deutsche Bank, which said it would book an unexpected loss in the fourth quarter. The report caused shares in financial companies across Europe to underperform the wider market. It follows weaker earnings at major U.S. banks such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Trading on Wall Street remained closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Earlier, in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 sank 0.6 percent to 15,641.68 and China’s Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.7 percent to 1,991.25 after news of the Chinese growth slowdown. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9 percent to 22,928.95. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.2 percent at 5,295.

Analysts said the U.S. corporate reporting season will be in focus when Wall Street reopens Tuesday after some disappointing earnings so far. Markets will also be cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s next meeting on Jan 29.

In other markets, benchmark crude for February delivery was down 28 cents at $93.68 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 41 cents on Friday.

The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.3558 while the dollar fell 0.1 percent against the Japanese yen, to 104.14 yen.

 

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