Asian markets are falling despite China’s bullish targets

March 05, 2019 at 11:59AM

Shares declined in most Asian markets Tuesday, tracking an overnight sell-off on Wall Street. But stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen advanced after the government set an ambitious target for growth this year that implies strong government support for the economy.

The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.1%, while the benchmark in Shenzhen , a smaller, more domestic-oriented market, jumped 0.8%. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the annual session of the country’s rubber-stamp parliament that the government was setting a growth target in a range of 6% to 6.5%. That shows official determination to shore up the cooling economy and prevent politically hazardous job losses and is slightly below last year’s 6.6% growth, a three-decade low.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.5% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong edged 0.1% lower. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.5% to 2,178.75. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell 0.3% after the central bank opted to keep its key policy rate at 1.5%. The sell-off Monday centered mainly on health-related and technology shares that have made the most gains recently.

The S&P 500 index  dropped 0.4% to 2,792.81. The index, a benchmark for many mutual funds, is still up 11.4% so far this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8%, to 25,819.65, while the Nasdaq composite lost 0.2% to 7,577.57. U.S. crude lost 30 cents to $56.29 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 1.4 percent Monday to settle at $56.59 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 28 cents to $65.39 a barrel.

Asian markets decline despite China’s bullish growth goal, MarketWatch, Mar 05

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