World stocks mostly drop, Japan enjoys Pokemon-inspired rise

AP News
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Posted: Jul 19, 2016 8:19 AM
World stocks mostly drop, Japan enjoys Pokemon-inspired rise

HONG KONG (AP) — Global stocks mostly fell Tuesday as investors monitored corporate earnings and further clues about the state of the world economy. Japan's index jumped on a weaker yen and a Pokemon-powered rally in Nintendo shares.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 was down 0.8 percent at 4,324 and Germany's DAX shed 1 percent to 9,963. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.2 percent to 6,684. U.S. stocks were poised for a subdued open, with Dow futures unchanged and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.2 percent.

GLOBAL OUTLOOK: Investors are anticipating a slew of events this week that they'll assess to get a better read on the health of the world economy and what it might mean for stock markets. The European Central Bank's policy rate decision is Thursday, and while no extra stimulus is expected, the bank's views about the economy could create volatility in markets. Australia's central bank, meanwhile, released minutes of its July meeting showing that officials downplayed the risk of Britain's vote on leaving the European Union to the world economy while noting that inflation remained weak, which analysts believe could open the way for policy easing.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: Ric Spooner of CMC Markets in Sydney said "the stock market is struggling to get enthusiastic. This reflects a degree of caution as traders assess the odds of further gains."

EARNINGS: Corporate earnings were mixed, with Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs beating forecasts in the second quarter of the year. Drug maker Novartis saw weaker profits, however, and Philip Morris missed investor expectations. Due later in the day were reports from Microsoft and United Continental.

ASIA'S DAY: Earlier, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 1.4 percent to end at 16,723.31 as the market had a delayed reaction to the yen's weakness after it reopened following a holiday. Other Asian indexes slid, with South Korea's Kospi losing 0.2 percent to 2,016.89, Hong Kong's Hang Seng sliding 0.6 percent to 21,673.20 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China shedding 0.2 percent to 3,036.60. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 percent to 5,451.30.

POKEMON POP: Nintendo Co. shares surged another 14 percent thanks to the wildly popular "Pokemon Go" game. While the Japanese game maker isn't a component of the Nikkei index, its rally helped lift broader investor sentiment. The Kyoto-based company accounted for about one in four shares that changed hands on the Tokyo exchange's main board. Nintendo's market capitalization has now doubled since the launch of the augmented reality game on July 6.

SOFTBANK SOFTNESS: Shares in Japanese technology company Softbank Group Corp. slumped 10 percent one day after it announced that it is buying Britain's ARM Holdings for 24.3 billion pounds ($32 billion) in a bid to expand into the "Internet of Things" — or connected home devices. Investors were apparently unhappy that SoftBank is paying a 43 percent premium to ARM's closing share price last week.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged lower to 106.18 yen from 106.22 in late trading Monday but was still hovering near its highest level in nearly a month. A weaker yen helps shares of Japan's big export manufacturers. The euro dipped to $1.1035 from $1.1070. The Turkish lira was up slightly after the central bank there cut interest rates to help the economy in the wake of last week's attempted coup. The country's currency, however, remains far below the level it traded at last week.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. oil futures rose. Crude gained 42 cents to $45.66 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 71 cents on Monday. Brent crude, the standard for oil sold internationally, rose 53 cents to $48.93 a barrel in London.