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Business, World

Monday, May 19, 2014

Business, World

China, Europe drag world stocks lower; dollar slips

Reuters | Monday, May 19, 2014

LONDON - Europe and Asia dragged world equity markets lower on Monday as concerns about slower growth in China prompted investors to cut their risks.

The dollar slipped against major currencies after expectations for continued monetary support from the Federal Reserve kept the benchmark 10-year yield near last month's six-month low.

Shanghai shares hit a three-week low as Beijing unveiled new regulations that tighten its grip on interbank lending to defuse risks among "shadow" non-bank financial firms that act like banks. Fresh data also added to evidence of a cooling property market.

"Markets think any weakness (in the Chinese economy) from here will be met with policy response from the authorities," said Manik Narain, strategist at UBS. "But there is room for China to disappoint so far. Weakness has been limited."

The benchmark MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.1 per cent while European shares .FTEU3 lost 0.4 per cent.

Emerging stocks .MSCIEF outperformed their developed counterpart by rising 0.3 per cent, approaching last week's 6-1/2 month high.

The dollar fell 0.1 per cent .DXY against a basket of major currencies while the euro ticked higher.

NO STRAIGHT LINE

European shares were dragged lower by British pharma group AstraZeneca (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which fell more than 13 per cent after it rejected a sweetened "final" offer from Pfizer (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) fell more than 2 per cent after the lender unveiled plans to raise 8 billion euros ($11 billion) in new capital, in its third capital increase since 2010.

Deutsche's cap hike gives it the firepower for the investment banking push, especially in the United States, after a retreat by competitors Barclays (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), UBS (UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and others left a gap that it aims to fill.

But it also underscores how the bank fell short of its ambitious turnaround targets and how burdensome fines and settlements and lagging profitability have hampered management's efforts to fortify capital by retaining earnings.

European shares have been rallying in recent weeks on expectations that the European Central Bank would cut interest rates to support the economy.

"It's not going to be a straight-line recovery and people will lose confidence in it at times," Richard Marwood, senior investment manager at AXA Investment Management, said.

"But you've got a safety net (from central banks) and I still think the stocks market is a better place to be than the bond market."

The 10-year Irish government bond yield fell towards last week's record low after Moody's upgraded Ireland's credit rating by two notches to Baa1.

"Ireland has come from being one of the weakest countries in the euro zone...but now in an upwards rating cycle, Ireland should do better than its current peers," said Peter Schaffrik, head of European rates strategy at RBC.

German Bund futures rose 2 ticks.

US crude oil fell 0.6 per cent to 102.65 a barrel.

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