Asian stocks fall despite Europe, China rate cuts

Asian markets fell Friday as apparently coordinated action by Europe and China to stimulate growth failed to reassure wary investors ahead of US jobs data due later in the day.

The slide came as International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned the global economy was slowing and said the situation could get worse because Europe was not doing enough to fix its debt crisis.

Tokyo closed down 0.65 percent, or 59.05 points, at 9,0120.75 and Seoul ended 0.92 percent, or 17.29 points, lower at 1,858.20.

Hong Kong was flat, edging down 0.04 percent, or 8.49 points, to 19,800.64 while Shanghai bucked the trend to close up 1.01 percent, or 22.23 points at 2,223.58, with property stocks leading the rise following Thursday's rate cut.

Sydney closed down 0.27 percent, or 11.40 points, at 4,157.8.

"Despite a wave of stimulus measures announced overnight by various central banks, it seems such policies are having a muted effect on investor sentiment," IG Markets analyst Cameron Peacock said in Sydney.

The European Central Bank Thursday trimmed eurozone borrowing costs by a quarter of a percentage point to 0.75 percent, in a widely anticipated move.

Shortly beforehand, the Bank of England announced it was keeping its main interest rate at a record low 0.50 percent and said it would increase its quantitative easing stimulus policy by 50 billion pounds ($78 billion) to boost Britain's recession-hit economy.

China's central bank also trimmed rates for the second time in a month, a surprise move that analysts said may indicate the world's second-biggest economy is slowing more quickly than expected.

Lagarde hailed the ECB move and other recent "significant steps" to contain the eurozone crisis but warned that "more needs to be done in order to really complete the architectural job of the eurozone".

Europe's main markets fell in early trade, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 down 0.17 percent to 5,692.62 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index off 0.42 percent to 6,508.22 points and in Paris the CAC 40 losing 0.41 percent to 3,216.08 points.

Markets were disappointed that the widely expected ECB move was not accompanied by additional stimulus measures to tackle the eurozone crisis.

Cautious investors were also awaiting the June US jobs report for signs about the state of the world's largest economy, and whether it would prompt the US Federal Reserve to step in with fresh easing measures.

"Investors are in a wait-and-see mood now, with important US jobs data due later Friday," Investrust CEO Hiroyuki Fukunaga told Dow Jones Newswires.

On Wall Street, traders shrugged off the rate moves in Europe and China to focus on US data showing weakness in consumer spending.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.36 percent, or 47.15 points, at 12,896.67 on Thursday.

The S&P 500-stock index lost 0.47 percent, or 6.44 points, to 1,367.58, while the tech-rich Nasdaq added a bare 0.04 points to 2,976.12.

On currency markets Friday the euro was changing hands at $1.2383, down from $1.2391 in New York late Thursday.

Against the safe-haven Japanese currency, the euro dipped further to 98.88 yen, from 99.00 yen in US trade.

The dollar, meanwhile, was stable at 79.85 yen, down slightly from 79.88 yen in New York trade.

Oil was lower in afternoon Asian trade, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, shedding $1.13 to $86.09 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August sliding $1.22 to $99.48.

Gold was worth $1,594.70 an ounce at 1115 GMT, compared with $1,618.30 late Thursday.

In other markets:

-- Singapore's Straits Times Index closed up 0.24 percent, or 7.08 points, to 2,978.55.

Jardine Cycle and Carriage gained 0.96 percent to Sg$49.35 and CapitaLand advanced 2.76 percent to Sg$2.98.

-- Bangkok fell 0.14 percent or 1.72 points to 1,200.08.

Banpu slipped 1.71 percent to 460.00 baht, while PTT lost 1.18 percent to 334.00 baht.

-- Kuala Lumpur ended 6.12 points, or 0.38 percent, higher at 1,620.55.

Telekom Malaysia gained 0.18 percent to 5.68 ringgit, while budget carrier AirAsia added 1.60 percent to 3.81.

-- Taipei fell 19.19 points, or 0.26 percent, to 7,368.59.

HTC shed 5.15 percent to Tw$322.0 while Chunghwa Telecom was 0.11 percent higher at Tw$95.2.

-- Jakarta closed down 14.64 points, or 0.4 percent, at 4,055.197.

Telkom edged down 2.4 percent to 8,200 rupiah, Bank Mandiri dropped 1.4 percent to 7,100 rupiah and coal producer Adaro fell 1.3 percent to 1,570 rupiah.

-- Manila slipped 7.30 points, or 0.14 percent, to 5,362.68.

Top-traded Belle Corp. fell 4.81 percent and Philippine Long Distance Telephone dropped 0.36 percent to 2,754 pesos.

-- Wellington fell 5.50 points, or 0.16 percent, to 3,478.70.

Telecom Corp. shed 1.4 percent to NZ$2.455 and Freightways dropped 0.8 percent to NZ$3.86 while Fletcher Building up 0.8 percent at NZ$6.27.

-- Mumbai edged down 0.10 percent, or 17.55 points, to 17,521.12.

Steelmaker Jindal Steel slid 3.17 percent to 455.1 rupees while Sterlite Industries, the local arm of global resources group Vedanta, fell 2.00 percent to 107.55.

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