European shares fall, Asia advances after Wall Street rally

TOKYO (AP) — Shares fell in Europe early yesterday after a day of gains in Asia.

Investors were encouraged by a wave of buying late last week on Wall Street that was spurred by strong United States (US) jobs numbers and optimism over China-US trade.

France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.2 per cent in early trading to 5,860.03, while Germany’s DAX declined 0.1 per cent to 13,154.81. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1 per cent to 7,230.09.

US shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures falling less than 0.1 per cent to 28,001. S&P 500 futures fell nearly 0.1 per cent to 3,144.10.

The surprisingly strong US jobs report for November put investors in a buying mood last Friday on Wall Street, extending the market’s winning streak to a third day.

“Markets were mostly higher on the solid US jobs data print,” Vishnu Varathan of the Asia & Oceania Treasury Department at Mizuho Bank in Singapore said in a report, adding that questions remained on whether that would prove enough amid other global risks.

Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea yesterday. PHOTO: AP

The Labour Department said employers added 266,000 positions, well above estimates of 184,000. The report also showed unemployment falling to a 50-year low.

Separately, an index that measures how consumers feel about the economy showed an increase from last month.

In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged 0.3 per cent higher to finish at 23,430.70, after the Cabinet Office reported the economy expanded at a 1.8 per cent annual pace in July-September, spurred by strong consumer purchases ahead of an October 1 sales tax hike. That was much stronger than the 0.2 per cent growth earlier reported and marked a fourth straight quarter of expansion for the world’s number three economy.

Elsewhere in Asia, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 per cent to 6,730.00. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.3 per cent higher to 2,088.65. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed, inching down to 26,494.73. The Shanghai Composite index rose nearly 0.1 per cent to 2,914.48.

The week got off to a strong start after the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 300 points last Friday, while the S&P 500 erased losses from earlier in the week, nudging the benchmark index to a second consecutive weekly gain.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9 per cent to 3,145.91. The index posted a 0.2 per cent gain for the week, a solid pivot from losses of more than one per cent as of late Thursday. It’s now within 0.3 per cent of its all-time high set on November 27 and up 25.5 per cent so far this year.

The latest gains also helped stem some of the losses for the Dow and Nasdaq.

Trade tensions and disappointing economic reports – including data showing manufacturing continues to shrink and growth in the service sector is slowing – dragged the market to steep losses yesterday and today. But steady job growth has been one of the bright spots in the economy, along with solid consumer spending.

Investors also got some encouraging news on the US-China trade front, with Beijing saying last Friday that it is waiving punitive tariffs on US soybeans as negotiations for a trade deal continue.

ENERGY

Benchmark crude oil lost 48 cents to USD58.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It advanced 77 cents to USD59.20 per barrel last Friday.

Brent crude oil, the international standard for pricing, shed 45 cents to USD63.94.

CURRENCIES

The dollar fell to JPY108.45 from JPY108.59 last Friday. The euro was little changed, inching up to USD1.1067 from USD1.1062.