HONG KONG – Asian and European stocks slid Tuesday as further weakness in oil prices and the slumping Russian ruble helped extend the global market rout. Disappointing Chinese factory data added to the selling pressure although it also fueled hopes of more stimulus that lifted China's stock benchmark.
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KEEPING SCORE: European stocks edged lower in early trading. France's CAC 40 was down 0.5 percent to 3,989.94 and Germany's DAX lost 0.5 percent to 9,301.25. Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.2 percent lower to 6,173.00. U.S. stocks were poised to open lower. Dow futures were down 0.1 percent at 17,114 and S&P 500 futures were little changed at 1,982.60.
CHINA FACTORIES: Shanghai shares gained after a preliminary HSBC report on manufacturing showed a contraction for the first time in seven months. While the numbers underscored the persistent weakness in the world's second biggest economy, they also fuelled mainland Chinese investor hopes of more stimulus after a surprise interest rate cut last month.
THE QUOTE: "Global equities remain subdued with bad news continuing to mount for emerging markets," said Stan Shamu of IG Markets in Melbourne, Australia. "While some would have hoped to see disappointing China data result in growing calls for stimulus ... we've actually seen investor concerns heighten" around Asia, he said.
AIRLINE TROUBLE: Indian budget carrier SpiceJet plunged 17 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The cash-strapped no-frills airline is struggling amid tough business conditions. Investor doubts that it will be able to survive are snowballing even after the state-run Airports Authority of India indicated it wouldn't press for immediate repayment of debts, according to a report by the Press Trust of India.
ASIAN SCORECARD: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index tumbled 2 percent to close at 16,755.32 and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.9 percent to 1,904.13. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.6 percent to 22,670.50. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index surged 2.3 percent to 3,021.52. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.7 percent to 5,152.30.
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ENERGY: Oil prices are at five-year lows as supply booms while energy demand wanes. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 90 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $55.02 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.90, or 3.3 percent, to close at $55.91 on Monday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.66 to $59.55 in London.
CURRENCIES: The ruble was shaky despite the Russian central bank's dramatic interest rate hike to stem the currency's decline. The Russian currency weakened to 66 to the dollar after sinking 13 percent on Monday. The ruble has lost about half its value since the start of the year because of the collapse of oil prices and Western sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine. In other currency trading, the dollar weakened to 117.02 yen from 117.82 in late trading Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.2465 from $1.2443.