World markets slump after terror attack

World markets slump after terror attack
Monday, April 15, 2013 - 9:01pm

World markets fell Tuesday as investors considered weaker than expected economic growth in China and the implications of a terrorist attack in Boston.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 1.0% in early trading while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.4%. The Nikkei in Tokyo dropped 1.1% and was on track for its third straight decline.

Worries over slower global growth have become more pronounced in the wake of soft economic data in China and the United States.

A terrorist attack in the United States also weighed on investor sentiment. Two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, leaving scores injured.

The investigation is still in its preliminary stages, and scores of victims remain hospitalized. The death toll stands at three.

Even before the attack, markets were reacting poorly to a round of disappointing data.

China reported Monday that its economy grew at a 7.7% annual rate in the first quarter, much weaker than the 8% most economists were expecting. A separate report also showed industrial production growth has slowed sharply in the country.

The data could mean reduced demand for commodities from the world's second-biggest economy and subdued inflationary pressures.

Heavy manufacturing related to steel, power and telecommunications equipment have shown the most weakness, a trend that continued Tuesday. Mining stocks in Australia, which rely heavily on China as an importer of their raw materials, were particularly hard hit.

Gold prices plunged and investors flocked to lower risk assets like U.S. Treasuries and safe-haven currencies. The yen and dollar both strengthened.

European markets are not yet trading Tuesday, but stock futures indicate a lower open for most major indices.

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