Concerns over Chinese growth and political tensions in Ukraine took the fizz out of an attempted rally in riskier assets on Thursday, as world shares steadied after their biggest falls for nearly two weeks. Stock markets in Europe edged higher, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 per cent to recoup some of its 1.1 percent drop in the previous session.
The move echoed trading in Asia, where MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan managed to rise 0.5 per cent, clawing back half the previous day’s losses.
Soft Chinese data dented many markets, however, with Japan’s Nikkei slipping 0.1 per cent, erasing gains made after Japanese machinery orders beat expectations, and South Korean shares also erasing most of its gains.
China’s industrial output growth came in below forecasts for the January-February period, with retail sales also weaker than expected, stoking worries that growth could slow as Beijing pushes for economic reforms.
The MSCI All-Country World index edged up 0.1 per cent, not far from an eight-day low hit on Thursday.