Global stocks choppy after G-7 fails to deliver

LONDON – Stock markets were choppy Monday after a meeting of the developed world’s central bankers and finance ministers failed to yield fresh ideas for spurring economic growth.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the main indexes pushed lower following early gains. France’s CAC-40 index was down 0.7 per cent at 4,323 while Germany’s DAX fell 0.6 per cent to 9,854. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.2 per cent lower at 6,144. Wall Street was poised for a flat opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures steady.

GLOBAL GROWTH: The weekend meeting of the Group of Seven top industrial economies ended without agreement on a plan to revive global growth. Finance ministers stressed the importance of varying action for each country but U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged his Japanese counterpart, Taro Aso, to refrain from devaluing the yen to boost the country’s exports. Figures Monday showed Japanese exports measured by value fell 10.1 per cent in April from a year earlier, a worsening from March’s 6.8 per cent decline.

ANALYST TAKE: “Confidence towards the global economy was already fragile, and the disappointing G-7 meeting that concluded without a proposal to renewing global growth may have rekindled a wave of jitters,” said FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga.

EUROZONE LOSING STEAM: European shares were further hobbled by further evidence of an economic slowdown across the 19-country eurozone. Financial information company Markit said Monday that its initial reading of the composite purchasing managers’ index — a broad gauge of business activity across the services and manufacturing sectors — fell to a 16-month low of 52.9 points in May from April’s 53.0. Anything above 50 indicates expansion.

ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.5 per cent to 16,654.60 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.6 per cent to 5,318.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.2 per cent to 19,809.03. Benchmarks in Thailand and New Zealand also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 per cent to 2,843.65 and Seoul’s Kospi added 0.4 per cent to 1,955.25.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 58 cents to $47.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 52 cents to $48.20 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro was down 0.1 per cent at $1.1210 while the dollar fell 0.6 per cent to 109.41 yen.