European Shares Mixed as German Factory Data Disappoint

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. (Reuters/Staff/Remote)

Shares wavered in Europe early Tuesday on disappointing manufacturing data from Germany. But benchmarks in Asia were mostly higher after China’s finance minister said he was confident the government could handle the country’s rising levels of debt.

Germany’s DAX edged 0.1 percent lower to 11,950.57 and the CAC 40 in France slipped 0.3 percent to 4,960.16. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent to 7,358.52. Wall Street appeared set for more losses with Dow and S&P 500 futures both down 0.1 percent.

Data from the German Economy Ministry showed that manufacturing orders fell 7.4 percent in January from the month before, on weak demand both at home and abroad. The decline, the biggest since 2009, raised concern over the strength of Europe’s biggest economy.

Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie told reporters that risks from financing were manageable. “China’s government debt risks are generally within control,” the official Xinhua News Agency cited Xiao as saying on the sidelines of the annual session of the national legislature. He said total net debt amounted to 27.33 trillion yuan (about $3.96 trillion dollars) or about 36.7 percent of the country’s GDP.

The Nikkei 225 stock index in Tokyo edged 0.2 percent lower to 19,344.15 but most other indexes gained. The Hang Seng gained 0.4 percent to 23,681.07 and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.3 percent to 3,242.41. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 climbed 0.3 percent to 5,761.40 and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6 percent to 2,094.05. India’s Sensex fell 0.1 percent to 29,012.27, while shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were higher.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 6 cents to $53.26 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up 13 cents on Monday to $53.20 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 6 cents to $56.07 a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 113.93 yen from 113.90. The euro rose to $1.0584 from $1.0582.