Major stock markets were mixed Monday after a global finance meeting failed to yield fresh ideas for spurring economic growth and Japanese exports weakened.
KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, France’s CAC-40 index edged 0.1 percent higher to 4,356.61 and Germany’s DAX rose 0.5 percent to 9,966.99. London’s FTSE 100 retreated 0.3 percent to 6,136.32. On Friday, the FTSE 100 and CAC-40 both gained 1.7 percent and the DAX rose 1.2 percent. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index both rose 0.1 percent. On Friday, the S&P gained 0.6 percent, the Dow added 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq composite climbed 1.2 percent.
GLOBAL GROWTH: Finance ministers of the Group of Seven major economies ended a weekend meeting without agreement on a plan to revive global growth. Most of the G-7 governments favor official action to stimulate demand but Germany is more conservative. Instead, finance ministers stressed the importance of varying action for each country. The U.S. treasury secretary, Jacob Lew, urged his Japanese counterpart, Taro Aso, to refrain from devaluing the yen to boost exports.
ANALYST’S TAKE: Lew’s message to Aso, the second time Washington has warned Tokyo against trying to intervene in currency markets to support trade, “may affect the Japanese central bank’s ambitions to push monetary stimulus further,” Margaret Yang Yan of CMC Markets said in a report.
JAPANESE TRADE: Japanese exports measured by value fell 10.1 percent in April from a year earlier, a deterioration from March’s 6.8 percent decline. The slump in export values is likely to endure, “undermining corporate profits and business sentiment,” said Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics. He said it shows the Japanese central bank “still has more work to do to reach its 2 percent inflation target.”
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.5 percent to 16,654.60 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.6 percent to 5,318.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.2 percent to 19,809.03. Benchmarks in Thailand and New Zealand also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent to 2,843.65 and Seoul’s Kospi added 0.4 percent to 1,955.25. Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia also advanced.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 48 cents to $47.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined 26 cents the previous session to close at $48.41. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 43 cents to $48.29 per barrel in London. The contract lost 9 cents the previous session to close at $48.72
CURRENCY: The dollar weakened to 109.62 yen from Friday’s 110.10 yen. The euro fell to $1.1205 from $1.1224.