Asia stocks falter after OECD cuts growth forecast

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets mostly faltered Wednesday after the OECD lowered its forecasts for global economic growth.

In a half-yearly report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its forecast for world growth this year to 2.7 percent and 3.6 percent for next. In May, it had predicted 3.1 percent and 4 percent growth, respectively. There were particularly sharp downgrades for Brazil and India though China's forecast was raised.

The more pessimistic forecasts reinforced current thinking that gains in stock markets, fueled by easy monetary policy, are out of step with the reality of lackluster economic growth in rich developed nations and fading momentum in many developing economies.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average was little changed at 15,128.49 and China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.2 percent to 2,189.79. Seoul's Kospi lost 0.9 percent to 2,014.14 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ceded 0.7 percent to 5,313.30. Most Southeast Asian markets were also down. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to 23,721.26.

Wall Street edged lower Tuesday as investors picked over another round of earnings reports from companies including electronics retailer Best Buy and Campbell Soup.

Best Buy slumped after it warned of a challenging holiday season ahead. Campbell Soup fell after reporting that its quarterly profit plunged 30 percent as sales of soup and its V8 beverages fell.

The Dow dropped 8.99 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 15,967.03. The S&P 500 index fell 3.66 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,787.87. The Nasdaq composite declined 17.51 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,931.55.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude was up 31 cents at $93.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 31 cents to $93.34 on Tuesday.

The euro was little changed at $1.3555. The dollar fell to 99.99 yen from 100.11 yen late Tuesday.