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AAA Feb. 24, 2014 7:27 AM ET
Markets drift amid Chinese property fears
By PAN PYLAS, Associated Press
A man uses a mobile phone in front of a securities firm's electronic stock board in Tokyo, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Asian stock markets mostly fell Monday after a slower increase in Chinese property prices added to jitters about the strength of the world's No. 2 economy. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average was down 0.19 percent at 14,837.68. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets drifted Monday as concerns over the Chinese property market reinforced jitters over the strength of the world's No. 2 economy.
Figures showed that average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 9.6 percent in the year to January, down on the 9.9 percent rise recorded in December. The first slowdown since November 2012 has added to fears that the banks are beginning to tighten their lending and that could mean Chinese growth falters.
"Negative sentiment surrounding China continued to weigh on risk appetite," said Sue Trinh, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.
The Chinese figures weighed on sentiment in the Asian trading session — China's main index finished 1.7 percent lower at 2,077.23. That downbeat start to the week dragged on into the European session. Disappointing earnings from HSBC PLC, Europe's biggest bank by market value, didn't help.
HSBC fell over 3 percent, a major reason why Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent at 6,820. Elsewhere in Europe, the CAC-40 in France was 0.1 percent higher at 4,385 while Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent to 9,645.
Wall Street was poised for a flat open, with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.
There was an equally flat tone in the currency markets, with the euro 0.1 percent higher at $1.3748 and the dollar 0.1 percent lower at 102.37 yen.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.8 percent to 22,388.56 while Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average fell 0.2 percent to 14,837.68.Associated Press