Paris (AFP) – World stocks fell on Monday as a weakening economic outlook for powerhouse China and renewed falls in the oil price prompted a sell-off.
Turnover was muted, however, with many operators still on end-year breaks and the key London exchange closed for a bank holiday.
Wall Street was down 0.5 percent in early business and the Nasdaq fell 0.4 percent.
But Disney shares jumped on “Star Wars” record ticket sales and Amazon gained on higher holiday subscriptions in New York.
Also in New York, February WTI oil futures opened 89 cents lower at $37.21, paring the previous week’s short-lived gains.
European oil stocks and some industrials came under pressure from the twin impact of weak oil prices and ominous slowdown signs from Asia.
In Paris, the CAC 40 extended opening losses to show a 0.7 percent drop, while Frankfurt’s DAX was off 0.6 percent in mid-afternoon.
US and European markets had refrained from major swings in their final sessions Thursday before the festive break, avoiding fireworks after heavy volatility in the preceding days.
“The between-the-holidays period has never been much of one for big movements in the financial markets,” said Barclays Bourse analyst Philippe Cohen.
In Asia, markets broadly fell as a decline in profits at China’s industrial firms reignited worries about the world’s number two economy, but bargain-buying helped Tokyo snap a five-day losing streak.
Industrial profits slid 1.4 percent to 672.1 billion yuan ($104 billion) in November, according to data released on Sunday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
“We see weakness across industries, with few signs of improvement,” Steve Wang, chief China economist at Reorient Financial Markets in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.
The fresh figures weighed on mainland markets with Shanghai down 2.59 percent and Shenzhen off 2.18 percent by the close.
Shares in China Telecom dropped as much as three percent after news its head was under investigation for “severe disciplinary violations”, the latest high-profile target in a corruption crackdown.
On currency markets the dollar rose to 120.53 yen from 120.19 on Friday in Tokyo, as investors bought back the US currency after it hit a two-month low against the Japanese unit last week.
A weak yen is a plus for Japanese exporters, as it boosts their repatriated profits and competitiveness overseas.
Dealers largely ignored a 1.0 percent decline in Japan’s factory output in November — after two months of gains — announced by the government shortly before Tokyo opened Monday morning.
The disappointing data comes after separate figures last week showed still-weak inflation and household spending, as the world’s number three economy struggles to stage a recovery.
– Key figures around 1445 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.56 percent at 18,873.35 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.99 percent at 21,919.62 (close).
Sydney – S&P/ASX200: closed Monday for public holiday
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0974 from $1.0965 Friday in Tokyo
Dollar/yen: UP to 120.28 yen from 120.19 yen Friday in Tokyo
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent from Thursday at 17,471.43. Closed Friday for Christmas.
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,254.64 Thursday. Closed Friday for Christmas and Monday for a public holiday.