World markets tumble ahead of US earnings reports

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SINGAPORE — Global shares were broadly lower on Tuesday as investors focused on geopolitical worries in Italy, China and beyond.

In early trading, Germany’s DAX slipped 2.3 percent to 11,265.61 and France’s CAC 40 was 1.6 percent lower at 4,971.82. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1.2 percent to 6,959.02.

Several large U.S. businesses, which are due to report third quarter earnings later in the day, would either provide markets with much-needed tailwinds or rock them further.

Underperformance by companies like Caterpillar, 3M and Verizon could be taken as a sign that rising interest rates, inflation and trade disputes are weighing on the global outlook.

In Europe, Italian lawmakers stood by a budget plan that would allow the country to ramp up public spending.

The plan expands its targeted deficit to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product next year, three times more than promised by the previous government.

The European Union is worried that this would prevent Italy from lowering its debt, which is second only to Greece among its members.

International credit rating agency Moody’s has downgraded Italy’s credit ratings in response.

But Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte called the budget “well-conceived” and said the country’s economic “fundamentals are good” a news conference in Rome on Monday.

“Risk aversion continues to permeate every pocket of the markets whether triggered by President Trump’s latest tweets on immigration or the blustery headwinds from Riyadh to Rome,” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary.

The sell-off in Europe tracked losses in Asia, where markets tumbled on worries over softening Chinese growth. The country’s economy grew at a 6.5 percent annual pace in the third quarter, its slowest since 2009.

Chinese benchmarks led a rebound on Monday, but traders have since begun weighing the impact of increased tariffs on most Chinese goods sold to the U.S., ranging from soybeans to electric cars and whiskey.

The Shanghai Composite index, which closed more than 4 percent higher in the previous session, dropped 2.3 percent to 2,594.83. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index sank 3.1 percent to 25,346.55.

Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said in an interview that the markets were “facing some consolidation following a sharp rally”.

“Investors are starting to price in weaker-than-expected third quarter GDP readings amid intensified trade frictions,” she added.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gave up 2.7 percent to 22,010.78 and the Kospi in South Korea tumbled 2.6 percent to 2,106.10.

Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 dipped 1.1 percent to 5,843.10. Shares fell in Taiwan and throughout Southeast Asia.

On Wall Street, traders were awaiting earnings reports by big names including Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter and Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Close to 17 percent of companies on the broad S&P 500 index have reported earnings for the third quarter, and over half of them did better than expected.

Still, U.S. indexes were set for a pessimistic open. Futures for the S&P 500 index, which suffered its fourth straight loss on Monday, dropped 1.4 percent to 2,717.00. Dow futures fell 1.1 percent to 25,013.00.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost $1.01 cents to $68.35 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 8 cents to settle at $69.36 a barrel in New York.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell $1.31 to $78.52 per barrel. In the previous session, it gained 5 cents to $79.83 a barrel.

The dollar weakened to 112.28 yen from 112.82 yen on Monday. The euro rose to $1.1484 from $1.1465.


AP Business Writer Alex Veiga contributed to this report.

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