Stock markets were choppy Monday after a meeting of the developed world's central bankers and finance ministers failed to yield fresh ideas for spurring economic growth. In Europe, the main indexes pushed lower following early gains. France's CAC-40 index was down 0.7 percent at 4,323 while Germany's DAX fell 0.6 percent to 9,854. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.2 percent lower at 6,144. Wall Street was poised for a flat opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures steady.
The weekend meeting of the Group of Seven top industrial economies ended without agreement on a plan to revive global growth. Finance ministers stressed the importance of varying action for each country but U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged his Japanese counterpart, Taro Aso, to refrain from devaluing the yen to boost the country's exports. Figures Monday showed Japanese exports measured by value fell 10.1 percent in April from a year earlier, a worsening from March's 6.8 percent decline.
"Confidence towards the global economy was already fragile, and the disappointing G-7 meeting that concluded without a proposal to renewing global growth may have rekindled a wave of jitters," said FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga.
European shares were further hobbled by further evidence of an economic slowdown across the 19-country eurozone. Financial information company Markit said Monday that its initial reading of the composite purchasing managers' index — a broad gauge of business activity across the services and manufacturing sectors — fell to a 16-month low of 52.9 points in May from April's 53.0. Anything above 50 indicates expansion. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.5 percent to 16,654.60 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.6 percent to 5,318.90. Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.2 percent to 19,809.03. Benchmarks in Thailand and New Zealand also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent to 2,843.65 and Seoul's Kospi added 0.4 percent to 1,955.25. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 52 cents to $48.20 per barrel in London.
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