​European stocks fall as Greek debt plight looms

A pedestrian walks past a quotation board at the window of a securities company in central Tokyo on May 26, 2015.


TOKYO - European shares fell Tuesday as markets reopened after holidays in several countries, as concerns over Greece's debt crisis overshadowed news from China of support for new infrastructure projects.

Germany's DAX sank 0.8 percent to 11,720.64 and France's CAC 40 dropped 0.6 percent to 5,085.84. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.6 percent to 6,986.48. Wall Street was poised for a weak post-Memorial Day holiday start. Dow futures edged down slightly, and S&P 500 futures fell 0.2 percent.

Worries persist that Greece might miss looming IMF repayments if it fails to receive bailout funds from creditors demanding it outline reforms and promise to meet cost-cutting targets. Athens is struggling to achieve greater austerity and clean up its finances without risking a relapse into recession. Meanwhile, the weak showing in local elections of Spain's ruling Popular Party, especially in its traditional power bases of Madrid and Valencia, highlighted voter displeasure with the government's handling of the eight-year economic crisis and the country's 24 percent unemployment rate.

"There will be a couple of dominant themes with Greece developments remaining at the forefront while political developments in Spain also deserve some attention," market strategist Stan Shamu of IG said in commentary.

China's economic planning agency announced Monday that it wanted to attract private investment to more than 1,000 local public-private projects for ports and other transport facilities, the environment, and public services. Altogether, the projects could be worth 2 trillion yuan ($318 billion). The government also announced it would halve import taxes on clothing, cosmetics and some other goods by half in a new tactic to stimulate consumer spending and economic growth.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent to 20,437.48 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.9 percent to 28,249.86. The Shanghai Composite rose 2 percent to 4,910.90; the index is up 141 percent over the past year. Australia's S&P ASX/200 climbed 0.9 percent to 5,773.40, but South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.1 percent to 2,143.50. Shares in New Zealand rose and Southeast Asian shares were mixed.

Benchmark U.S. oil fell 29 cents to $59.43 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed $1 on Friday to $59.72. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 37 cents to $65.16 per barrel.

The dollar gained to 122.79 yen from Monday's 121.55 yen. The euro fell to $1.0887 from $1.0980.