Asia slips on weaker Wall St, soft China data; dollar steady
(Reuters) – Asian stocks slipped early on Monday, weighed down by Friday’s decline on Wall Street and soft Chinese economic data released over the weekend.
The dollar firmed against the euro and yen after receiving a boost from upbeat U.S. indicators on Friday.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.2 percent and Australian shares inched down 0.1 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei bucked the trend and climbed 0.4 percent.
The Dow shed 1 percent and the S&P 500 fell 0.9 percent on Friday after gloomy earnings from consumer companies overshadowed strong April retail sales numbers.
China’s investment, factory output and retail sales all grew more slowly than expected in April, adding to doubts about whether the world’s second-largest economy is stabilising, data released on Saturday showed.
"Chinese data over the weekend managed to miss market expectations for every single release: credit growth, industrial production, retail sales, and fixed-asset investment," wrote Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG in Melbourne.
"The miss on the activity front wasn’t a huge surprise given we already saw a levelling off in the PMIs, but the dramatic slowing in credit growth will be raising some red flags in the already-reversing commodities space."
Aluminium reached a one-month low and copper plumbed its lowest level since late February on Friday.
Commodities were hurt as the dollar reached a two-week high against a basket of currencies on Friday’s upbeat April U.S. retail sales data, which jumped 1.3 percent for the largest gain since March 2015.
A stronger greenback tends to weigh on non-U.S. buyers of dollar-denominated commodities.
The dollar was steady at 108.685 yen after spiking briefly on Friday to 109.57, its highest since late April, in reaction to the strong U.S. data. The euro was flat at $1.1314 after slipping to a two-week low of $1.1283 on Friday.
The Australian dollar was little changed at $0.7274 , not too far from a 2-1/2-month low of $0.7236 probed earlier on Monday.
U.S. crude oil nudged up 0.15 percent to $46.26 a barrel after shedding more than 1 percent Friday on the dollar’s gains. Brent rose 0.1 percent to $47.89 a barrel after falling 0.5 percent on Friday. (