Global shares head lower as world slowdown fears grow
LONDON, June 4 — European shares joined a global sell-off in riskier assets today after disappointing May economic data from the United States and China overwhelmed any positive impact from hopes the world’s central banks would ease policy further.
The euro slid 0.3 per cent to US$1.2400, moving closer to the US$1.2288 it hit on Friday, its lowest level since July 2010, while Brent crude oil fell below US$97 a barrel to a 16-month low.
Safe haven US and German government bond yields held near Friday’s record lows.
“Investors are just fleeing risk assets,” said ATI Asset Management chief investment officer Simon Burge.
The latest sell-off followed disappointing US jobs growth figures on Friday and weak Chinese manufacturing data, which stoked fears that the problems in the euro zone are causing a worldwide slowdown in business activity.
Those fears caused sharp falls across Asian markets today, dragging Tokyo’s Topix index to a 28-year low, and followed a fall of more than 2 per cent in US stocks on Friday. The MSCI world equity index was down 0.5 per cent at 290.58 points.
UK markets were closed for a holiday today, but the FTSE Eurofirst index of top European shares opened down 0.7 per cent at 2054.97 points after hitting a six-month low on Friday. — Reuters