U.S. stock indices fell on Tuesday. Oil prices have stabilized, but remained close to a seven-month low. Weak trade data from China intensified concerns about the global economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 162.51 points, or 0.9%, to 17,568.00. The S&P 500 lost 13.48 points, or 0.7%, to 2,063.59 (its materials and energy sectors fell 1.9% and 1.5% respectively). The Nasdaq Composite declined 3.57 points, or less than 0.1% to 5,098.24.
The National Federation of Independent Business reported that small business confidence declined in the U.S. in November amid concerns over sales and profit growth. The corresponding index fell to 94.8 in November against 96.1 in October. The expectations for higher sales declined to -1.0% from 4.0% in October, and economy outlook came in at -7.0% compared to -4.0%.
Meanwhile the index of economic optimism in the U.S. calculated by Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics climbed to 47.2 in December from 45.5 in November. The latest reading is 0.7 point below the twelve-month average. A reading above 50 suggests optimism, while a reading below 50 points to pessimism.
This morning in Asia Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 0.43%, or 93.60, to 21,811.53. China Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.19%, or 6.68, to 3.476.75. The Nikkei fell 1.09%, or 213.00, to 19,279.60.
Asian indices mostly retreated following declines in U.S. markets. Low oil prices also weighed on stocks.
The National Bureau of Statistics of China reported that the consumer price index rose by 1.5% y/y in November compared to 1.3% in October. Analysts had expected prices to grow by 1.4% y/y. The index gained mostly due to higher food prices. Faster price growth in China suggests that the government's actions start to influence the economy.
Meanwhile the producer price index fell by 5.9% y/y in November. The index has been falling for over three years.