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    Investors are cautious worldwide, with markets in Asia and Europe largely bearish, while the US is surging on optimistic macroeconomic data.

    Markets in Europe, America Surge on US Data, Asia Slid

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    Investors are cautious worldwide, with markets in Asia and Europe largely bearish, while the US is surging on optimistic macroeconomic data.

    MOSCOW, December 11 (Sputnik) — Stock markets in the Asia-Pacific closed in the red zone today as Chinese debt concerns and lack of global demand for manufactured goods rendered investors bearish, while European stocks ended the day flat, shaking between gains and losses during the trading session on new ECB loans, and the US markets surged decisively on the optimistic retail sales and unemployment data.

    In Asia-Pacific, Japanese stocks hit the 2-week low as pessimistic manufacturing sector data, a stronger yen and a slump in oil prices – all due to sluggish global demand – discouraged investors from risky yet profitable operations. Nikkei Index shed 0.9% in its third day of losses due to a decline in stocks of major exporters, among which are the electronics maker Panasonic (-1.8%) and the automotive company, Toyota (-0.6%).

    The broader index of Japan’s stocks, Topix, retreated by 0.7%. Rest of Asia-Pacific was also pessimistic on China’s risks, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sliding 0.9%, Shanghai Composites lost 0.49%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.53%, Korea’s Kospi lost 1.49%, according to data by Bloomberg.

    In Europe, the trading day ended with most indices flat, as aftereffects of Greece’s political crisis are still making investors nervous, while the newly-allocated loans by the European Central Bank (ECB) accounted for less than the markets expected. The ECB loans are part of the regulator’s limited stimulus policy, designed to spur inflation and growth in the sluggish Eurozone.  European banks received today some 130 bln euros ($161 bln) in ECB loans.

    “The issue of liquidity in Europe is key,” Francois Savary of the Geneva-based Reyl & Cie told Bloomberg. “For European equities to outperform the U.S., which we think they will, you need to have liquidity in the system. Will there be QE? If the TLTROs are not working, the ECB needs to add to existing instruments and find other ways of increasing their balance sheet.”

    As a result, the Stoxx Europe 600 index slid 0.1%, Germany’s DAX Index added 0.64%, the British FTSE 100 Index slid 0.59%, while France’s CAC40 was flat at a close, sliding 0.05%, according to the data by Reuters. Greek political risks still have a decisive impact on domestic financial markets, as the nation’s ASE Index slumped by 7.4%, losing 20% its value this week.

    US stocks rose for the first time this week after retail data surpassed forecasts and unemployment went down. The dollar rose against other currencies.

    A crew works on a drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas in Zelienople
    © AP Photo / Keith Srakocic
    The retail sales in the US added 0.7% in November, which is the 8-months high. Jobless claims slid 3,000 to 294,000 the first week of December. Investors are cautious, though, ahead of the Fed policy meeting next week, which might bring news of the timing in further monetary tightening.

    The S&P 500 Index rose 1.34%, NASDAQ Composite added 1.52%, and Dow Jones hiked 1.15% on the news, according to Bloomberg data.

    “When you see a big decline like we did yesterday we’re poised for a little bit of a bounce back and retail sales are helping,” Larry Peruzzi of the Boston-based Cabrera Capital Markets LLC told Bloomberg. “Globally, we’re still one of the bright spots. Retail sales are always an indication that consumers are feeling good.”

    The Bloomberg dollar spot index added 0.5%, while oil traded near its 5-year lows at $64.53/bbl for Brent crude. Russia’s struggling ruble retreated slightly, trading at 54.79 to USD and 68.29 to EUR, despite the Central Bank’s interest rate hike by 100 basis points, to 10.5%.

    Gold added 0.11%, silver depreciated by 0.22% and copper rose in price by 1.11%.

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