Shares, euro sag after euro zone PMIs disappoint

Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:36am EDT
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By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - World shares weathered soft readings on Chinese and Japanese manufacturing on Thursday that merely drove expectations of more policy stimulus there, though lacklustre euro zone data was less well received.

European stock markets opened higher, spurred by multi-year highs in Asia, but the mood soured after sluggish euro zone and German purchasing manager data followed another dire set of numbers from France.

It meant that, overall, euro zone private sector business growth was weaker than forecast, despite a big fall in the euro that could support exports and the launch in March of a much-awaited sovereign bond buying programme from the European Central Bank.

"There was very little positive to take away from the French numbers," said Timo Del Carpio a European economist at RBC in London. "We will have to wait and see, but so far the signal is that it is a weak start to Q2."

The euro headed lower against the dollar but European bond markets largely shrugged off the data as they steadied after UK Gilts GB10YT=RR and German Bunds DE10YT=RR had led a lively sell-off on Wednesday.

Traders were still cheering what had been another stellar session for stocks in Asia.

Among the milestones were a 15-year peak for Japan, seven years for both China and Taiwan and a near four-year top for South Korea. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.5 percent to reach ground last trod in early 2008.

The gains came despite a dip in the HSBC China manufacturing PMI to a one-year trough of 49.2 in April, when the consensus had been for it to hold steady at 49.6.   Continued...

Employees work at a steel factory in Dalian, Liaoning province in this March 16, 2015 file picture.  REUTERS/China Daily/Files