Caution about China's economic prospects and upcoming U.S. economic data kept Asian stock markets subdued Tuesday. European markets were also lackluster.
Investors are awaiting economic events
in the U.S. with Federal Reserve minutes due Wednesday and a monthly jobs
report on Friday.
Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.6 percent
down to 15, 814.37 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 percent to 22,712.78.
China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent to 2,047.32. Australia's
S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.2 percent to 5,317.00 and Southeast Asian markets were
Confidence was weakened by lackluster
services industry activity in the U.S., Wall Street's fall Monday and recent
signs of renewed weakness in China's manufacturing.
"China is defiantly in play right
now," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne,
Australia. "We certainly aren't seeing the sort of flows that suggest the
Chinese and Hong Kong markets are going to see double-digit appreciation this
In early European trading, the FTSE
100 index of leading British shares rose 0.1 percent to 6,735.29 while
Germany's DAX was nearly flat at 9,431.48. France's CAC-40 was down 0.2 percent
Futures in New York pointed to a
higher opening on Wall Street. Dow Jones futures rose 0.2 percent to 16,396 and
S&P 500 futures were up 0.2 percent to 1,825.10.
On Monday, data showed U.S. service
companies grew at a steady but slightly slower pace in December. Sales dipped
and new orders dropped to a four-year low, according to a report from the
Institute for Supply Management. It suggests growth may remain modest in the
The most closely watched economic
report of the week will come on Friday, when the Labor Department is scheduled
to release its jobs survey for December. That's going to influence the Fed's
decision on how fast to reduce its bond purchases in the coming months. The Fed
has been buying $85 billion worth of bonds each month to keep long-term
interest rates low to boost borrowing and spending.
In currencies, the euro dropped to
$1.3620 from $1.3634 late Monday in New York. The dollar rose to 104.32 yen
from 104.20 yen.
Benchmark oil for February delivery was up 29 cents a barrel to $93.72 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 53 cents to close at $93.43 on Monday.