World markets mixed as global stock rally fades

Traders are pictured at their desks at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 28, 2015.

REUTERS

HONG KONG - World stock markets were uneven on Friday as a global rally driven by upbeat U.S. economic data faded.

European stocks fell in early trading, with France's CAC 40 down 0.5 percent at 4,636.26 and Germany's DAX 0.9 percent lower at 10,219.43. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.1 percent to 6,1845.64.

U.S. stocks were poised to open lower, with Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures all down 0.8 percent.

The declines came a day after strong gains following a report that U.S. second-quarter economic growth was much stronger than initially estimated.

Global stock markets are settling down after the tumult of the past two weeks, which saw Chinese stocks plunge, wiping out gains for the year, on jitters over the economy and a surprise devaluation of the yuan. Analysts warn there may be further volatility ahead.

"Uncertainties regarding China and the emerging world are likely to linger and uncertainty still remains around the Fed," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.

However, he added that he believes markets have bottomed out and a "cyclical bull market" is likely to resume. "Despite the recent set back, share markets are likely to remain in a broad rising trend," he said.

The recent market turmoil has thrown into doubt expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in September, with most economists now saying it's off the table for now. Fed officials hold their annual meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this weekend, which will be heavily scrutinized for clues on the rate hike timing.

Most Asian benchmarks ended strongly as the U.S. growth data, which also helped oil prices stage an impressive rebound, gave added encouragement to investors seeking bargains in beaten-down shares.

The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China rose 4.8 percent to close at 3,232.35, adding to its 5.3 percent gain Thursday, its first increase in six days. During the previous five days, it had shed nearly 23 percent. Most of Shanghai's gains came in the last hour of trading, a curious pattern repeated from Thursday that led some to believe that Beijing was again intervening in the market to prop up prices.

"It's just the state-owned funds that jumped in. I don't know which ones, but definitely from the state," said Dickie Wong, executive director at Kingston Financial Group.

He surmised that "they have to complete their order, so they jumped in at the last hour (because) time is running out."

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 3 percent to close at 19,136.32 after lackluster monthly data on inflation and household spending raised hopes of further stimulus.

South Korea's Kospi rose 1.6 percent to 1,937.16 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng swung into a loss in the final hour of trading, losing 1 percent to 21,612.39. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 5,263.60.

The dollar slipped to 120.87 yen from 121.12 in late trading Thursday. The euro climbed to $1.1274 from $1.1242.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 28 cents to $42.28 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday the contract posted its biggest one-day gain in six years, leaping $3.96, or 10.3 percent, to $42.56 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils imported by U.S. refineries, fell 3 cents to $47.53 in London.