European stocks slide as Greek worries persist
Europe’s main stock markets fell further on Friday as investor worries intensified over the plight of Greece, analysts said.
In late morning deals, London’s FTSE 100 index dropped 0.42 percent to 7,030.40 points.
In Paris, the benchmark CAC-40 index shed 1.58 percent to 5,142.10 points and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 slid 1.80 percent to 11,783 compared with Thursday’s close.
“London’s FTSE 100 has kicked off the final session of the week in a rather muted tone,” said Trustnet analyst Tony Cross.
“There’s still that overhanging fear that we could be nearing an endgame as far as Greece is concerned.”
The region’s major indices had also slid Thursday on jitters over Greece, while London investors took profits from a record-breaking run.
Greece Remains in Spotlight
“Another day brings another story about Greece, and once again the inability of the Greek finance minister to employ a light touch has spooked markets,” said IG analyst Alastair McCaig.
“Bond markets, normally immune to the volatility that equities frequent, have seen Greek yields sky rocket as the chances of them defaulting grow ever more likely.”
Volumes were lower than usual, analysts said, owing to a global breakdown of Bloomberg trading terminals.
The terminals — used by subscribers to make trades using realtime developments in business and finance — were struck by a “global network problem,” the company’s technical department said Friday.
“Bloomberg ... has been hit with technical issues this morning and as a consequence trading volumes are a little lower,” added McCaig.
Meanwhile, top European officials and Greece’s finance minister were forced to play down fears that the country was poised to exit the eurozone, after the IMF rejected suggestions that Athens would postpone loan repayments.
Greek bond yields have soared to their highest point since 2012 as concerns mounted that the country would default on billions of dollars in debt and be forced to leave the euro area, an event which could shake global financial markets.
“In recent weeks the attitude of EU and IMF creditors towards Greece appears to have increasing hardened,” noted Rabobank analyst Jane Foley.
“In the early days of the Syriza government, Finance Minister (Yanis) Varoufakis had hoped for some sympathy for its socialist idealism from the governments of France and Italy.
“This week French PM (Manuel) Valls rebuffed Greece’s position by calling on its government to quickly draw up a more thoroughgoing list of reforms. German attitudes have also toughened.”
Varoufakis has meanwhile insisted Athens remains committed to the euro area, despite rising talk of a Greek exit or Grexit.
Despite new worries about Greece’s eurozone future, the euro managed to hold up, while the dollar dipped as the chances of a summer U.S. interest rate hike eased on disappointing jobs and housing data.
Hong Kong, Shanghai Defy Asia
Slump on Stimulus Hopes
Equities in Shanghai extended their rally Friday on hopes for new economy-boosting measures from China, but Hong Kong and most other Asian markets retreated following more weak U.S. data and losses on Wall Street.
The dollar lost ground as the chances of a summer U.S. interest rate hike slimmed after disappointing jobs and housing figures, while the euro managed to hold up despite new worries about Greece’s eurozone future.
Shanghai rose 2.20 percent, or 92.47 points, to 4,287.30 but Hong Kong slid 0.31 percent, or 86.59 points, to 27,653.12.
Tokyo tumbled 1.17 percent, or 232.89 points, to close at 19,652.88, Sydney sank 1.28 percent, or 76.00 points, to 5,871.50 and Seoul added 0.17 percent, or 3.60 points, to 2,143.50.
A string of poor Chinese indicators have fuelled a rally in Shanghai’s benchmark index over the past year and now mainland investors are turning their attention to Hong Kong, buying what they consider cheap assets.
The southward flood of cash saw turnover in Hong Kong hit record highs twice last week as traders make the most of a link-up between the city’s exchange and the bourse in Shanghai.
The Dow dipped 0.04 percent, the S&P 500 edged down 0.08 percent and the Nasdaq eased 0.06 percent.
Gold fetched US$1,205.91 against US$1,208.60 late Thursday. In other markets: — Singapore closed down 0.18 percent, or 6.42 points, to 3,525.19.
— Jakarta ended down 0.19 percent, or 10.09 points, at 5,410.64.
— Malaysia’s main index lost 0.11 percent, or 2.08 points, to close at 1,845.86.
— Mumbai fell 0.78 percent, or 223.94 points, to 28,442.10.
— Thai stocks edged down 0.20 percent, or 3.15 points, to close at 1,566.85.
— Wellington fell 0.34 percent, or 20.28 points, to 5,861.48.
— Manila was flat, edging down 1.31 percent to 7,946.89.