The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) didn't trade today, with U.S. stock exchanges closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. But most world stock markets were open, and overall, their performance left much to be desired for bullish investors. Let's look at the hot spots in the global stock markets today.
Stock markets in Asia were generally weaker, as a slight slowdown in China's GDP growth to 7.7% followed similar minor decreases in industrial production, fixed-asset investment, and retail sales growth recently. The Shanghai Composite fell below the 2,000 mark for the first time in six months, with many citing multiple initial public offerings tomorrow as potentially sapping liquidity from the rest of the market and causing further sell-offs. Moreover, short-term interest rates in China have soared above 6%, leading to fears of a credit crisis similar to what the country suffered in mid-2013. Japan's Nikkei fell 93 points to 15,642, while stocks in Hong Kong dropped almost 1%. Among big movers in Japan was Nintendo (NASDAQOTH:NTDOY), which plunged 6% on disappointing results over the holidays of its Wii U video game console.
European stocks were little changed, with one index of the eurozone posting a 0.1% drop. But markets in Germany and France were both down slightly, with Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) falling more than 5% after posting a surprise loss that stemmed largely from more than half a billion euros in litigation-related expenses as well as reorganization costs and other charges. The dour news dragged down banks throughout the eurozone, but stronger performance among luxury consumer-goods sellers helped minimize losses in broader markets, as Luxottica Group (NYSE:LUX) gained 4% after getting an analyst upgrade. Most market participants were pleased that Europe managed to avoid downward pressure from China's weaker growth.
Stock markets in the Western Hemisphere were mixed, with Brazil posting about a 1% drop but markets in Mexico and Canada gaining ground. Leading Canadian stocks higher was BlackBerry (NYSE:BB), which posted a 9% gain on the Toronto exchange after the U.S. Defense Department said that BlackBerry smartphones still account for 98% of the devices in a new network. The company is also working hard to emphasize its prowess in enterprise software, and if both of its initiatives can bear fruit, BlackBerry hopes that it will be able to navigate a turnaround that will give it a viable corporate strategy moving forward.
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