Asian shares fall on poor Chinese economic data

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SINGAPORE (AP) — European and Asian indexes wobbled on Friday after British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get assurances for a Brexit divorce deal at an EU summit in Brussels. China reported weaker-than-expected economic data, stirring up worries about the state of the world’s second largest economy.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX declined 1.5 percent to 10,759.64 and France’s CAC 40 fell 1.3 percent to 4,833.87. Britain’s FTSE 100 index was down 1.1 percent at 6,801.39. Wall Street was set to open lower. Dow futures gave up 1.1 percent to 24,320.00. The broader S&P 500 futures was 1.1 percent lower at 2,620.00.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slid 2 percent to 21,374.83 and the Kospi in South Korea lost 1.3 percent to 2,069.38. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.6 percent at 26,094.79. The Shanghai Composite index fell 1.5 percent to 2,593.74. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 shed 1.1 percent to 5,602.00. Shares were also lower in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

BREXIT TROUBLES: On Thursday, May asked 27 European leaders to “hold nothing in reserve” in helping her sell a Brexit deal that has been criticized by loyalists and political opponents alike. Without a deal, Britain would leave the bloc on March 29 “with all the disruption that would bring,” she warned. EU officials seemed exasperated at the lack of concrete new ideas from Britain. The leaders’ final summit conclusions did not include an offer to grant further assurances to the Britain over Brexit.

CHINESE DATA: Chinese industrial output and retail sales slowed in November, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Friday. Industrial output rose 5.4 percent over a year ago, compared with a 5.9 percent rise in October. Retail sales grew by 8.1 percent, down from 8.6 percent in the previous month. Investors are keeping close tabs on Chinese economic releases amid the country’s trade dispute with the U.S. The two countries have agreed to a 90-day cease-fire on tariffs and are planning to use the time to resolve a myriad of issues.

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ANALYST’S TAKE: “Markets have been anticipating slower growth in production because of trade tensions. But retail sales show that consumption may not be strong enough to support the external sector,” said Francis Tan, an investment strategist at UOB Private Bank. “These slower numbers will surface on policymakers’ dashboards and there is a possibility of more stimulus early in the new year,” he added.

JAPAN’S TANKAN: A Bank of Japan survey released Friday measuring confidence among large-scale manufacturers held steady at 19 points. The “tankan” survey, which includes automakers and electronics companies, was flat for the second month after three quarters of decline. It reflects the difference in the number of companies with “favorable” outlooks and those with “unfavorable” ones. Analysts said the showing is decent, given that the Japanese economy contracted in the first and third quarters, but it could be a sign that global trade tensions are still weighing on corporate sentiment.

WEEK AHEAD: Traders will be watching a Federal Open Market Committee meeting starting Tuesday. Any change to the Fed’s plans for three interest rate hikes in 2019 could rattle global financial markets.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 33 cents to $52.25 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.43 to $52.58 in New York on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 55 cents to $60.90 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 113.52 yen from 113.60 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro eased to $1.1294 from $1.1363. The British pound slipped to $1.2577 from $1.2653.

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