KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX slipped 0.4 percent to 13,338.59 and the CAC 40 in France shed 0.2 percent to 5,512.71. Britain’s FTSE 100 bucked the losing trend, gaining 0.2 percent to 7,743.25. Wall Street looked set for a weak start, with S&P futures down 0.2 percent at 2,746.70 and Dow futures also off 0.2 percent, at 25,332.00.
THE DAY IN ASIA: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3 percent to 23,788.20 and the Kospi in South Korea lost 0.4 percent to 2,499.75. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 slipped 0.6 percent to 6,096.70. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong climbed 0.2 percent to 31,073.72 and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.2 percent to 3,421.83. Shares fell in Taiwan and were mixed in Southeast Asia.
JAPAN CENTRAL BANK: A drop in the scale of long-term bond purchases by the Bank of Japan on Tuesday has triggered speculation over further “tapering” of asset purchases. That pushed the Japanese yen higher against the dollar, denting some exporters’ shares.
CHINA INFLATION DATA: China reported that its consumer price index edged up to 1.8 percent in December from 1.7 percent the month before, driven by higher food prices. But broader gauges showed price pressures easing.
“Looking ahead, we think that food prices aside, inflation will continue to drop back in the coming quarters as economic activity softens,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.88 Japanese yen from 112.65 yen late Tuesday. The euro climbed to $1.1950 from $1.1938, and the British pound dipped to $1.3517 from $1.3540.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 56 cents to $63.52 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.23 to settle at $62.96 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 38 cents to $69.19 per barrel. It rose $1.04 to settle at $68.82 per barrel in London.