Asian stocks retreat as Greek cash crunch intensifies

AP News
Posted: May 11, 2015 11:35 PM
Asian stocks retreat as Greek cash crunch intensifies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly weaker Tuesday after the latest talks between Greece and its European creditors failed to reach agreement on bailout terms as the Greek government runs low on cash. Chinese stocks were a bright spot, boosted by an interest rate cut on the weekend.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 percent to 19,499.18 and South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.3 percent to 2,091.99. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.3 percent to 27,639.02. But Australia's S&P/ ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,648.30 and China's Shanghai Composite index rose 0.8 percent to 4,365.37.

GREEK TALKS: Eurozone official Jerone Dijsselbloem said progress was made at Monday's meeting among finance ministers from Greece and other European countries but more time and effort was needed to reach a deal. Greece is facing an acute cash crunch that many in financial markets think could see the country default on its debts, impose restrictions on capital flows and possibly leave the euro currency bloc.

THE QUOTE: "A failure to resolve the Greek funding crisis is adding to the pressure on local shares," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said in a commentary. "While the rest of the world is now largely economically insulated from Greece, risks remain."

CHINA CUT: Chinese stocks continued to get a boost from Sunday's interest rate cut, which was the third cut in half a year aimed at shoring up sputtering economic growth. The central bank's latest move came after trade data released on Friday showed imports and exports declined in April suggesting domestic and foreign demand are slowing. At the same time, inflation remains low, giving policymakers leeway to ease monetary policy as they strive to keep growth from falling below a 7 percent target.

WALL STREET: The U.S. stock market closed lower on Monday. The Dow fell 0.5 percent to 18,105.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 0.5 percent to 2,105.33. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2 percent to 4,993.57.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 9 cents to $59.16 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 14 cents to close at $59.25 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 7 cents to $65.55 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 120.18 yen from 120.17 yen in the previous trading session. The euro strengthened to $1.1159 from $1.1147.