Mar­kets slug­gish af­ter Chi­nese data dump

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Mar­kets have started the week slug­gishly Mon­day as in­vestors pause for breath fol­low­ing a dash that's seen the Dow Jones in­dex in the U.S. record a se­ries of all- time highs.

Chi­nese eco­nomic fig­ures over the week­end were largely dis­ap­point­ing and prompted many in­vestors to book some re­cent gains and take to the side­lines af­ter a rally that's seen many stock in­dexes around the world push up to multi-year highs fol­low­ing a strong start to the year.

The soft Chi­nese in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion and re­tail sales fig­ures stoked some con­cerns that the re­cent pick-up in the coun­try's growth rate may have stalled. In ad­di­tion, higher than ex­pected in­fla­tion of 3.2 per­cent in Fe­bru­ary raised ques­tions about the government's abil­ity to do more to shore up the world's num­ber 2 econ­omy.

Still, the num­bers did not prompt a whole­sale re-eval­u­a­tion partly be­cause they were likely im­pacted by the coun­try's Lu­nar New Year hol­i­day pe­riod.

"Some cau­tion is needed given dis­tor­tions caused by the Lu­nar New Year hol­i­day, so it may take a few more months of data to get a clearer pic­ture," said Elsa Lig­nos, an an­a­lyst at RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 in­dex of lead­ing Bri­tish shares was flat at 6,438 while Ger­many's DAX fell 0.3 per­cent to 7,966. The CAC-40 in France was 0.4 per­cent lower at 3,826.

Ital­ian shares un­der­per­formed their peers, with the Mi­lan ex­change 0.7 per­cent lower as in­vestors wait to see if a government can be forged fol­low­ing in­con­clu­sive elec­tions two weeks ago. A down­grade of the coun­try's credit rat­ing from Fitch on Fri­day also added to the pre­vail­ing cau­tion.

Wall Street was poised for a fairly unin­spir­ing open­ing, with both Dow fu­tures and the broader S&P 500 fu­tures down 0.2 per­cent.

With lit­tle on the eco­nomic cal­en­dar in Europe and the U.S. Mon­day, stocks may con­tinue to drift es­pe­cially af­ter last week's his­toric week on Wall Street which was capped with stronger- than- ex­pected U.S. non­farm pay­rolls fig­ures for Fe­bru­ary.

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