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Growth worries dent shares ahead of Bernanke speech

Published: August 30, 2012 | 7:50 am
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Uncertainty over central bank action to fight slower global growth sent world shares and industrial commodity prices lower on Thursday, while nervousness ahead of a meeting of central bankers in the United States also curbed risk appetite.

Investors are waiting to see whether U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will provide any hints of a third round of monetary easing in a speech at the meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday.

But slightly better recent U.S. economic data has reduced the prospects of such a move, while a flagging Chinese economy has cut demand for commodities like steel, iron ore and copper.

“Simply put, there are no lights at the end of the tunnel for the global economy yet,” said Yuuki Sakurai, chief executive of Fukoku Capital Management in Tokyo.

MSCI’s world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which has edged down over the past seven sessions, was 0.15 percent lower on Thursday at 322.73 points.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 of top European shares opened 0.3 percent lower at 1,082.52 points, while the euro zone’s blue chip Euro STOXX 50 .STOXX50E fell 0.4 percent.

European share markets were also reflecting the uncertainty over the European Central Bank’s (ECB) next steps to tackle the region’s three-year old debt crisis.

The ECB is expected to unveil concrete plans next week to help bring down crippling borrowing costs in Spain and Italy at its policy meeting on September 6, where a rate is also likely to be under discussion.

The single currency was up 0.15 percent at $1.2550 against the dollar, not too far from a seven-week high of $1.2590 hit last week, as hopes for decisive ECB action rise.

Debt markets were mostly steady ahead of a 6.5 billion euro Italian sovereign bond sale later in the session. Italy is expected to find buyers for the bonds, but the auction will underscore the country’s high borrowing cost.


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