Canada Markets closed

Before the Bell: Global markets mostly lower

Liam Lahey

Weak economic data out of the U.S. and U.K. has global growth concerns weighing on market sentiment Thursday, despite promising employment data from Europe's largest economy.

A report from the Bank of England on Thursday showed mortgage approvals dropped to an eight-month low while a Nationwide Building Society report revealed house prices have plunged. Stateside, a U.S. Commerce Department report released Wednesday showed a slower-than-expected rise in new orders for manufactured durable goods.

Germany's jobless rate dropped to a record low of 6.7 per cent in March, showing a clear sign of hope for recovery within Europe, but it wasn't enough to spur risk-on sentiment in European stock markets.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 per cent at 263.57. London's FTSE 100 Index was down 0.4 per cent at 5787.37. Paris's CAC 40 was off 0.2 per cent at 3426.23 and Frankfurt's DAX was down 0.3 per cent at 6975.34. The euro currency is presently fetching US$1.3336.

It's much the same result in Asian indexes. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.67 per cent or 67.78 points, to 10,114.79, Australia's S&P/ASX was 0.13 per cent lower, losing 5.6 points to end at 4,337.9, and Seoul's Kospi fell 0.85 per cent, or 17.33 points, to 2,014.41. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.32 per cent, or 276.03 points, to 20,609.39 and Shanghai's Composite Index lost 1.43 per cent, or 32.72 points, to end at 2,252.16.

On Wall Street, U.S. futures are pointing to a lower open. Futures on the S&P 500 are down 4.99 points to 1395.20 while the Nasdaq 100 futures are down 8.75 points to 2759.25. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 40 points to 13,013.

On the economic data calendar for Thursday, investors await a jobless benefits claims report and the U.S. Commerce Department's fourth quarter estimate for GDP and corporate profits. Meanwhile in Europe, today marks the start of a two-day European Union finance ministers meeting while Eurozone confidence surveys are due.

Canada's benchmark, the S&P/TSX Composite Index, closed at 12,413.86 on Wednesday, a drop of 98.18 points, or 0.78 per cent. Canada's junior Venture exchange fell 24.81 points, or 1.58 per cent, to 1,550.25. The Canadian dollar is presently trading at US$1.0021.