Nov 16, 2015
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Asian shares, euro skid after Paris attacks

Nov 16, 2015

Asian shares and U.S. stock futures were lower and the euro skidded in early Asian trading on Monday in the wake of Friday's deadly attacks in Paris, with stocks taking their cue from poor investor appetite for risk after the assault and Wall Street's steep losses.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.5 percent in early trade after losing 1.4 percent on Friday and more than 3 percent for the week.

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Australian shares was down 0.6 percent after touching a more than one-month low.

The Nikkei stock index tumbled 1.3 percent in early trade, nearly wiping out last week's 1.7 percent gain, the fourth weekly rise in a row.

Data released before the Tokyo market opened showed that Japan's economy slipped back into recession in the July-September quarter, contracting at a 0.8 percent annualized rate, compared with the median estimate for a 0.2 percent contraction.

S&P 500 futures were down 0.7 percent, after shedding about 1 percent in light volume in late trading on Friday. News of the attacks by gunmen and bombers that killed 132 people in the French capital came after U.S. markets closed for the day.

Before the assault, Wall Street had marked its worst week since August, with major U.S. indexes all shedding more than 1 percent after a spate of mixed economic data.

The euro dropped about 0.5 percent to $1.0715, after logging a flat performance last week. It was down 0.7 percent against the yen at 131.10 yen.

"Currency markets have responded to the atrocities in Paris over the weekend," said Richard Grace, chief currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The dollar slipped about 0.2 percent against the yen to 122.35.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, added about 0.1 percent to 99.085.

French warplanes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria on Sunday as police launched an international hunt for a man they believe may have helped organize the deadly wave of assaults.

"What might be affected from the Paris attacks could be a change in spending from the consumer over the coming quarter and a possible shift in confidence," Evan Lucas, market strategist at trading platform provider IG in Melbourne, wrote in a note to clients on Monday.


U.S. data on Friday showed retail sales were weaker than expected and producer prices slipped for the second straight month, but U.S. consumer sentiment beat forecasts and rose for the second straight month.

Taken as a whole, the data raised some concerns about the strength of the U.S. economy but was not worrying enough to significantly reduce bets that the Federal Reserve will to raise interest rates at its next meeting in December.

By contrast, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said last week that the bank is ready to extend its easing steps to bolster flagging prices. Data released on Friday subsequently showed that euro-zone economic growth slowed unexpectedly in the third quarter.

In one sign of stability for the euro zone, Greece and its euro zone creditors reached an agreement on many issues in the reform program that Athens is implementing in return for loans, the head of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Sunday.

French financial markets will be open as usual on Monday, with security measures taken for staff, stock and derivatives exchange Euronext said a day after the attacks.

Markets in the Middle East, which trade on Sunday, were hit hard, though part of that decline was due to last week's drop in oil prices.

Crude futures registered their biggest weekly loss in eight months, losing 8 percent on the week for their worst performance since March, as growing inventories stoked fears of oversupply.

Futures retraced some of the lost ground in early Asian trade. Brent was up 0.3 percent at $44.62 a barrel after shedding 1 percent on Friday, while U.S. crude was up about 0.4 percent at $40.89 a barrel after giving up 2 percent.

Spot gold added about 0.5 percent to $1,089.51 an ounce, moving away from its low on Thursday of $1,074.26, which was its deepest nadir since February 2010.


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