Asian shares slip, global bond yields down on growth concerns
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares were mostly in the red on Friday, weighed down by a weak performance on Wall Street and doubts about the strength of the U.S. economy, which pushed bonds higher.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei fell 1.5 percent and regional markets, with the exception of Wellington and Mumbai, were posting losses.
The MSCI's dollar-denominated index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down just 0.1 percent as slight gains in some regional currencies offset falls in share prices in local-currency terms.
European shares are expected to stabilise after a fall to one-month lows the previous day, with spreadbetters looking to gains of 0.1 percent in both Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE.
A smaller-than-expected increase in May's U.S. consumer spending, in data released on Thursday, added to concerns about the health of the U.S. economy following surprisingly weak first quarter GDP data.
The GDP data showed that the U.S. economy contracted at a 2.9 percent annualised pace in the first quarter, the worst performance in five years. Tohru Yamamoto, chief fixed income strategist at Daiwa Securities, called that "clearly a very weak figure."
The weak data is starting to shake investors' conviction that the U.S. economy is heading for a modest but robust recovery. U.S. growth this year is seen possibly falling short of 2 percent.
"People are assessing where they think their second- and third-quarter, fourth-quarter, GDP estimates are going to be," said Wilmer Stith, co-manager in Baltimore of the Wilmington Broad Market Bond Fund. Continued...