TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets were lackluster Tuesday after weak Chinese trade and Japanese growth figures showed headwinds for the global economy.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.9 percent to 17,699.52 and the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.5 percent to 3,066.65. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.3 percent to 1,877.33. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent to 20,662.52 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1 percent to 5,081.50. Share markets in Southeast Asia fell.
JAPAN CONTRACTION: Japan's economy contracted 1.2 percent in April-June, according to revised data showing that consumer spending was slightly better than estimated, but corporate investment was significantly weaker. Economists expect a recovery in the second half though China's slowdown and turbulent markets will limit its strength.
CHINA TRADE: China's foreign trade in August dropped 9.7 percent year-on-year, with exports falling 6.1 percent and imports slumping 14.3 percent, official data showed, according to state news agency Xinhua. Weak numbers were expected and show China's surprise currency devaluation in August was too small to make a difference to exports.
ANALYST'S VIEW: "It's all eyes on China again today, with the local markets scrambling for some sort of lead and inspiration," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG, said in a research note. "Given what we have seen with the trade numbers from Korea, horrible numbers would not be a surprise and could be a source of volatility for markets in the afternoon, especially with the market already on edge about Chinese growth."
WALL STREET: Wall Street was closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down $1.43 to $44.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 70 cents on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 40 cents to $48.03 in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.1192 from $1.1168 in the previous global trading session. The dollar fell to 118.93 yen from 119.39 yen.