KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - World markets were mostly in the red Monday, opening the week on a cautious note ahead of the release of data from the U.S. and China that will reflect the pace of growth in the world's top two economies.
In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 dipped
0.2 percent to 6,717.22 while Germany's DAX shed 0.2 percent to 9,415.22.
France's CAC-40 was almost flat at 4,248.29.
Investors are waiting to scrutinize
the minutes of the Federal Reserve's December meeting amid expectations it
might accelerate the pace of reducing its monetary stimulus on the back of
rising economic momentum. Manufacturing, payrolls and trade balance data due
this week will reveal if U.S. economic recovery can be sustained.
In China, trade, inflation and loans
data due later in the week will color regional sentiment. Two surveys last week
showed manufacturing activity has weakened in December, which analysts said
pointed to a downturn in business cycle.
"China will be an interesting
read this week. The debate about how China is tracking will define its 2014 --
talk will be about whether the 'hard landing' talk of the last four years
continues, if the central government is moderating growth and whether the small
steps it has taken toward a more liberalized, freer trading economy continue in
2014," said Evan Lucas, market strategist for IG in Melbourne, Australia.
Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said
it was increasingly clear that China's growth has peaked and entering an
economic downturn, which will hurt regional exports.
"When China sneezes, markets
worry that the whole region will catch a cold," its economist Dariusz
Kowalczyk said in a commentary.
On Wall Street, futures pointed to a
weak start. The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 0.1 percent while
the Dow Jones industrial average eased 0.01 percent.
Earlier in Asia, China's benchmark
Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.9 percent to 2,043.01, extending losses from
last week. Tokyo's Nikkei shed 2.4 percent to 15.908.88 and Hong Kong's Hang
Seng fell 0.6 percent to 22,684.15. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia, New
Zealand and Australia also declined. However, South Korea's Kospi bucked the
trend to add 0.4 percent to 1,953.28.
Benchmark oil for February delivery
rose 26 cents a barrel to $94.22 in electronic trading on the New York
Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.48 to close at $93.96 on Friday.