Global markets lower as uncertain Greek election raises caution

By , on December 30, 2014


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SEOUL, South Korea—Global stock markets were mostly in the red Tuesday as concern about Greek politics and the shaky Russian ruble dented confidence in the global economy.

Keeping score

France’s CAC 40 fell 0.8 per cent to 4,283.90 and Germany’s DAX dropped 0.7 per cent to 9,860.40. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.7 per cent at 6,593.00. Wall Street looked set for losses, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index both down 0.2 per cent.

Asia’s day

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed 1.6 per cent lower at 17,450.77 on 2014’s final trading day. The benchmark gained 7.1 per cent this year. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.6 per cent to 1,915.59, ending the year 4.8 per cent lower. China’s Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.1 per cent to 3,165.81 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was also down 1.1 per cent to 23,501.10. Australia’s S&P/ ASX 200 fell 1 per cent to 5,416.60. Market benchmarks in Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore were also down but Indonesia and Malaysia rose.

Greek uncertainty

Greek bonds and shares fell after parliament failed to approve a new president, forcing the government to call early elections that could bring more economic turmoil. Investors worry elections might be won by the left-wing opposition Syriza party, which rejects Greece’s bailout deal. On Monday, the Athens stock market plunged 11 per cent before recovering to close down 4 per cent.

Analyst’s take

“An election puts all sorts of doubt on the future of the bailout agreement given anti-austerity party Syriza is currently leading the polls,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets. “Potentially markets had already priced this in but I would still remain cautious around Greece.”

Ruble trouble

The Russian currency fell further, losing 1 per cent against the U.S. dollar. Russian monetary officials have made stabilizing the currency a priority amid slumping oil revenues and unease about the country’s economic outlook.

Other currencies

The dollar fell to 119.453 yen from 120.659 yen while the euro rose to $1.2175 from $1.2159.

Energy

Benchmark U.S. crude was down 73 cents to $52.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract plunged $1.12 to settle at $53.61. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 98 cents to $56.90.