Stocks mostly fall on Greece, China up on stimulus hope

AP News
Posted: Apr 17, 2015 7:53 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stock markets mostly fell on Friday amid concerns over Greece, while stocks in mainland China extended gains on expectations of further policy easing.

KEEPING SCORE: European markets traded lower, with Britain's FTSE 100 down 0.7 percent at 7,008.19 and France's CAC 40 shedding 1.2 percent to 5,162.69. Germany's DAX was down 1.7 percent at 11,793.37. Futures showed that Wall Street was headed for weak open. S&P 500 futures were down 0.6 percent and Dow futures 0.7 percent lower.

GREEK WORRY: Sentiment in Europe remains weighed down by worries over Greece. The country and its creditors are still struggling to find a deal on that can keep it from defaulting on its debts. They are arguing over what reforms Greece should make in return for loans. European creditor states say there is still much work to be done in the talks, but Greece is running out of money. Many in the markets think the Greek government will struggle to make payments to the International Monetary Fund due next month if it fails to reach a deal.

ASIA'S DAY: Stocks in Shanghai continued their gains after data showed that China's economy grew at the slowest pace since 2009 during the first quarter. The data stoked expectations that the country would introduce further stimulus measures to achieve its annual growth target. The Shanghai Composite index rose 2.2 percent to 4,287.30 while South Korea's Kospi was up 0.2 percent at 2,143.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent to 27,653.12. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.2 percent to 19,652.88, while Australia's S&P ASX 200 was down 1.2 percent at 5,877.90.

U.S. FOCUS: Earnings from General Electric were the focus in pre-market trading in the U.S., with the industrial giant reporting a big first quarter loss of $13.57 billion.

Later, the Labor Department reports on consumer prices for March on Friday. In February, a slight rise in gas costs and broad increases in other categories lifted consumer prices, a welcome sign after three straight months of declines that had pointed to excessively low inflation.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude oil slipped 43 cents to $56.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 32 cents to settle at $56.71 on Thursday, refreshing its highest price this year.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 118.70 yen from 118.98 yen while the euro strengthened to $1.0809 from $1.0770.