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Wed Mar 11, 2015, 08:50 AM

Asia stocks down on Fed rate hike anxiety, Europe rebounds

Source: AP-Excite

By KELVIN CHAN

HONG KONG (AP) Asian stocks were mostly lower Wednesday on investor anxiety about a looming U.S. interest rate hike while European markets rebounded from a similar drop the day before.

KEEPING SCORE: In early European trading, France's CAC-40 jumped 1.1 percent to 4,937.41 and Germany's DAX added 0.9 percent to 11,607.40. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 6,734.73. U.S. stocks were poised to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.3 percent to 17,720.00. Broader S&P 500 futures climbed 0.4 percent to 2,049.80.

FED FEARS: The prospect that the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates for the first time in nine years is unsettling investors. Those odds got a boost after recent data revealed a strengthening job market, most recently with a government report Tuesday that found number of U.S. job postings in January was the highest in 14 years. At the same time, central banks in Europe, Japan, Australia and elsewhere are moving in the opposite direction by bringing down borrowing costs to jumpstart their stagnating economies. Low interest rates and other monetary stimulus have supported stocks for several years but a rate hike from the Fed will foreshadow a return to more levels for credit costs.

CHINA FOCUS: Investors examined the latest batch of monthly economic data on China for clues on the state of the world's No. 2 economy. Industrial output for January and February rose 6.8 percent, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The number was less than analysts expected. Retail sales and fixed-asset investment also disappointed. China's economy is expected to slow further after growing 7.4 percent last year, the lowest growth rate in nearly a quarter-century. The government issues the figures for both months together to smooth out distortions from Lunar New Year, which can fall in either month.

FULL story at link.



A man walks past Japan's Nikkei stock index displayed on an electronic board in Tokyo Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Asian stocks got off to a weak start Wednesday following sharp declines on Wall Street sparked by growing investor anxiety about a looming U.S. interest rate hike. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20150311/financial_markets-aae991da9f.html

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