World Shares Mixed Amid Troubles for Chinese Property Sector

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
December 6, 2021 Updated: December 6, 2021

BANGKOK—European shares and U.S. futures rose Monday after a lackluster day in Asia, where shares fell in Hong Kong and Shanghai after troubled Chinese property developer Evergrande warned it may run out of money.

Moving to reassure investors and keep growth from stalling, China’s central bank cut the amount of funds banks are required to keep in reserve. That freed up 1.2 trillion yuan ($190 billion) for banks to lend.

Investors are meanwhile also struggling with uncertainty about the newest coronavirus variant and about when the Federal Reserve will cut off its support for markets.

“This is a week that will force uncomfortable contemplation about ‘known unknowns’ mainly associated with omicron, Fed tightening and China (regulatory/property) risks,” Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

That will bring still more uncertainty after a tumultuous spell last week, it said.

Germany’s DAX surged 0.9 percent to 15,298.76 while the CAC 40 in Paris climbed 0.8 percent to 6,820.83. Britain’s FTSE 100 picked up 0.8 percent to 7,181.36. The future for the Dow industrials was 0.8 percent higher, while the contract for the S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent.

Chinese regulators scrambled to reassure investors after Evergrande, one of China’s biggest developers, said it may run out of money to “perform its financial obligations” as it struggles to comply with pressure to reduce its $310 billion in debt.

The worry is that unsustainable levels of debt in the property sector might trigger a financial crisis. China wants to avoid a bailout but also is unlikely to let the situation deteriorate to the point where problems would cascade to that level.

A number of real estate companies have run into trouble as the regime has pushed to reduce debt levels.

A cement truck moves past a new Evergrande housing development in Beijing, China, on Sept. 22, 2021. (Andy Wong/AP Photo)

Evergrande’s Hong Kong-traded shares plunged 19.6 percent on Monday, helping pull the Hang Seng index 1.8 percent lower, to 23,349.38. The Shanghai Composite index gave up early gains, losing 0.5 percent to 3,589.31.

India’s benchmark dropped 1.7 percent and Taiwan’s also edged lower. Thai markets were closed for a public holiday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 gave up 0.4 percent to 27,927.37. But the S&P/ASX 500 in Sydney ended slightly higher, gaining 0.1 percent to 7,245.10. In Seoul, the Kospi edged 0.2 percent higher to 2,973.25.

Chinese tech giant Alibaba, which has been embroiled in a multi-faceted crackdown on the industry, lost 5.6 percent after the company said it was replacing its chief financial officer, Maggie Wu, and overhauling its e-commerce business.

Last week’s volatile swings on Wall Street ended Friday with more losses for stocks, as a mixed batch of U.S. job market data triggered another bout of dizzying trading.

The S&P 500 closed 0.8 percent lower, at 4,538.43. The Dow lost 0.2 percent to 34,580.08. The Nasdaq sank 1.9 percent to 15,085.47, while the Russell 2000 slumped 2.1 percent to 2,159.31.

Friday’s jobs report, which is usually the most anticipated economic data by Wall Street each month, showed employers added only 210,000 jobs last month. Economists were expecting much stronger hiring of 530,000, and it raised worries the economy may stagnate while inflation remains high. That’s a worse-case scenario called “stagflation” by economists, and the omicron variant’s arrival makes its likelihood more uncertain.

In other trading Monday, U.S. benchmark crude oil advanced $2.00 to $68.26 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It shed 24 cents to $66.26 on Friday.

Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, picked up $1.85 to $71.73 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 113.26 Japanese yen from 112.92 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1297 from $1.1309.

By Elaine Kurtenbach