As the week began in Asia, only Japan’s Nikkei 225 managed to add gains of 1.1% to close today at 17,004 as the most of the region remained closed on account of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Japan’s Nikkei had pared its early morning losses to close on a positive note. According to analysts, volume in Asian stock markets that are open will be below average until Chinese investors resume trading next week. Australia’s ASX closed 0.07% lower at 5,022.10. Mumbai’s Sensex was seen trading 0.55% lower at 24,481 today.
Gloom around Europe
Meanwhile, European markets remained uneasy after a cautious opening for most of the Eurozone and broader EU. The beginning of the week did not start on a positive note as British business confidence hit its lowest levels in the last three years. The decline in UK business confidence adds to fears that the global economy is slowing down. The uninspiring news led the Economic Intelligence Unit’s Robin Bew to opine that another interest rate hike is unlikely for another three years.
Following the reports, England’s FTSE 100 posted a fall of more than 1.7%. Euronext 100, and France’s CAC 40 are down over 2%, and Germany’s DAX is already down by more than 2.5% with over 5 hours to go in the trading day. Switzerland’s Swiss Market Index also plunged by close to 2%.
There was no end to the negative reports from the Eurozone as Sentix added to worries after reporting a drop in the investor morale index. According to the Frankfurt-based body, investor morale breached a 10-month low to 6 in February from 9.6 in January. The agency commented that the Eurozone is not immune to the global economic uncertainties.
Apart from this, sentiment in the U.S. remained subdued after the U.S. jobs report came into light. The U.S. labor department posted an addition of 151,000 jobs in January versus the forecast of 190,000 while the unemployment rate fell to 4.9%. However, the market seemed to be divided over the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, and sentiment was largely negative. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week 1.29% lower at 16,204 while S&P 500 Index had shed 1.85% to close at 1,880.05.