Asian shares languished on Monday, after the latest gauge of China’s factory sector activity raised concerns about the world’s second-largest economy. Financial spreadbetters expected European bourses to follow suit, with Britain’s FTSE 100 seen opening flat to 6 points lower, or down as much as 0.1 percent; Germany’s DAX seen opening 27 to 36 points lower, or down as much as 0.3 percent; and France’s CAC 40 expected to open 1 to 4 points lower, or down as much as 0.1 percent.
Greece’s new leftist government began its drive to persuade a skeptical Europe to accept a new debt agreement while it starts to roll back on austerity measures imposed under its existing bailout agreement. It seeks to end the existing arrangement with the European Union, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund “troika” when its aid deadline expires on Feb. 28.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.1 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei stock average dropped 0.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index skidded 2.4 percent in the wake of the downbeat China figures. The final HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for January came in at 49.7 on a seasonally adjusted basis, just below the 50.0 level that separates growth from contraction. The figure released on Monday was slightly lower than a preliminary “flash” reading of 49.8.