World stocks stall amid global growth warnings

PAMELA SAMPSON, AP Business Writer

BANGKOK -- World stock markets stalled Tuesday after yet another dismal prediction about global economic growth.

The International Monetary Fund said that advanced economies are at risk of recession and that the world economy will expand 3.3 percent this year, down from the estimate of 3.5 percent growth it issued in July. A day before, the World Bank issued a warning about a slackening expansion in Asia.

European stocks dropped in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 fell more than 0.2 percent to 5,827.72. Germany's DAX lost 0.5 percent to 7,258.73 and France's CAC-40 shed 0.1 percent at 3,403.30. Wall Street also appeared set for losses, with Dow Jones industrial futures slipping 0.1 percent to 13,485. S&P 500 futures lost nearly 0.2 percent at 1,447.40.

The picture was not as bleak in Asia, where stock market performance was mixed.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent to 20,937.28 and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.1 percent to 1,979.04. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 4,505.30. Japan's Nikkei 225 index tumbled 1.1 percent to 8,769.59. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand also fell.

Some analysts suggested that Asia still remained a bright stop and that investors should keep the big picture in mind.

"Asia has grown nearly 32 (percent) in the four years since Lehman Brothers collapsed," analysts at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore said in a market commentary. "That's how big Asia is today and how fast it is growing. A weak Europe will never be a plus for Asia. But it's never mattered less either."

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2 percent to 2,115.23 and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index added 2.7 percent to 871.92. Financial and energy-related stocks led the gains.

Xu Xiaoyu, an analyst at Beijing-based China Investment Securities, said Chinese stocks were powered by the investment arm of China's sovereign wealth fund saying it would buy 6.26 million shares of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the world's biggest bank by market value.

China's central bank took a new step to support slowing economic growth by boosting credit. The bank injected 265 billion yuan ($42 billion) into the money supply in what analysts said was the second-biggest such move to date. It was the third such injection in as many weeks.

Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong, said he believes the strong rebound in Chinese shares boils down to this: mainland stocks, closed for a holiday last week, are playing catch-up with the Dow Jones industrial average, which hit a four-year high on Sept. 12, closing at 13,333.

"I think it's just follow-through action after the Golden Week holiday," he said. "Yesterday, it went into consolidation. Today it resumed its upsurge."

Benchmark oil for November delivery was up 44 cents to $89.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract closed down 55 cents to $89.33 per barrel on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2982 from $1.2928 late Monday in New York. The dollar was nearly unchanged at 78.33 yen from 78.34 yen.