By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets were largely flat Tuesday after China’s quarterly economic growth met expectations, calming some of the investor jitters in the region.
KEEPING SCORE: China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.3 percent at 2,923.66 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6 percent to 19,346.27. Australia’s SP/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 4,876.80. Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged down 0.7 percent to 16,834.13. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.6 percent to 1,867.12 in morning trading. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly lower. New Zealand gained.
CHINA ECONOMY: China’s economic growth edged down to 6.8 percent in the final quarter of 2015 as trade and consumer spending weakened. The quarterly growth figure was the weakest in six years and 6.9 percent growth for the full year was the lowest in 25 years. That was in line with market expectations but some analysts had forecast a much sharper slowdown. Chinese leaders are trying to reduce reliance on trade and investment by nurturing slower, more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and services.
THE QUOTE: China’s “official data do not point to a hard landing in the fourth quarter of 2015, but they provide little reason to stop worrying about China’s drag on the global economy, either,” said Bill Adams, senior international economist at PNC Financial Services Group. “Chinese domestic demand remains weak, held back by three persistent headwinds.”
EUROPEAN MARKETS: Germany’s DAX, which had opened 1.2 percent higher, declined over the course of Monday to end 0.3 percent lower at 9,521.85. The CAC 40 of France fell 0.5 percent to 4,189.57 and Britain’s FTSE 100 shed 0.4 percent to 5,8779.92. U.S. markets were closed for a public holiday.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 21 cents to $30.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 29 cents to $28.84 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar edge down to 117.42 yen from 117.50 yen in the previous trading day. The euro rose to $1.0893 from $1.0885.
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