Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Japanese stocks plunge again, global manufacturing gives mixed signals

Japanese stocks plunged again on Monday, the Nikkei 225 losing 3.72 percent.

Again, the plunge was limited to Japan. Other Asian stock markets only fell mildly on Monday, as did European stocks. US stocks even managed to gain.

Economic data on Monday were mixed.

In China, the HSBC manufacturing PMI fell to 49.2 in May, below the 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction, from 50.4 in April. This was in contrast to the official manufacturing PMI, released on Saturday, which rose to 50.8 in May from 50.6 in April.

The official PMI for the non-manufacturing sector, released earlier on Monday, fell to 54.3 in May from 54.5 in April.

In the US, the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing PMI also fell below 50 in May. It fell to 49.0, the lowest level since June 2009, from 50.7 in April.

Contradicting this indicator, however, Markit's manufacturing PMI for the US rose to 52.3 in May from 52.1 in April.

Another report on Monday showed that US construction spending rose 0.4 percent in April.

Manufacturing improved in Europe in May. Markit's manufacturing PMI for the euro area rose to 48.3 in May from 46.7 in April. In the UK, the manufacturing PMI from Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply rose to 51.3 from 50.2 in April.

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