Economic jitters weigh on stocks in Asia, Europe

LONDON: Global equities were mixed in Asia and Europe on Monday after a weak performance on Wall Street where fresh worries emerged about the health of the global economy.

In late morning trading in Europe, Frankfurt fell 0.76 percent and Paris shed 0.34 percent, while London added 0.38 percent.

In Asia, Hong Kong share prices rallied 1.38 percent, rebounding from earlier lows following a rally on the Shanghai bourse, dealers said.

But Tokyo dived on Monday, also hit by worries about a stronger yen, weak corporate earnings and a growing number of domestic swine flu infections, dealers said.

Wall Street churned lower on Friday amid lackluster economic data and news that General Motors planned a major cut in the number of its dealers, which could add to the labor market's woes.

"Whilst we all read about the possibility of the green shoots turning into a definite growth scenario next year, this rather ignores the fact that we still have seven months of 2009 to get through just yet," said Capital Spreads director Simon Denham.

"The remainder of this year is unlikely to be as friendly on a personal level than the last 18 months and it is how consumption stands up over the next period that will define whether a rebound is on the cards."

London stocks were boosted by news that Victor Blank, chairman of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), will step down next year.

LBG, which is 43-percent owned by the state, saw its share price gain 5.16 percent to 93.80 pence, while the bank also outlined plans to issue new shares to raise 4.0 billion pounds to pay back the government's preference shares.

In India, Mumbai shares surged Monday on hopes that a resounding election victory by the Congress-led alliance over the weekend will pave the way for much-needed economic reform.

But elsewhere the mood was cautious following Friday's selloff on Wall Street that dealers partly blamed on lacklustre economic data.

Tokyo's Nikkei index closed down 2.44 percent as a stronger yen weighed on exporters. The spread of swine flu also hit sentiment as the number of confirmed infections reached 129 in Japan.

Panasonic shares fell almost eight percent after the Japanese electronics giant announced its first annual loss in six years and warned it would remain in the red this year because of weak sales of televisions, cameras and other goods.

Sydney lost 1.0 percent, Seoul shed 0.36 percent and Wellington declined 0.47 percent.

In Wall Street trade on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.75 percent, to end at 8,268.64 points as investor excitement over the prospect of an economic recovery cooled in light of the latest economic data.

But some markets bucked the downturn. In Mumbai the benchmark 30-share Sensex rocketed more than 17 percent, prompting trading to be halted for the remainder of the day as prices surged beyond the allowed upper limit.

Confounding expectations of a close result and a fractured parliament, the Congress-led alliance won a projected 260 seats at the weekend -- a mandate nobody had predicted when voting began last month.