April 24 - Asian markets down as political uncertainty rises in Europe, but Sydney stocks close higher after tame inflation data boosts prospects for a rate cut. Arnold Gay reports.
Asian stock markets struggled to stay above water Tuesday, with Europe the main factor weighing on investors. But Australian shares rose, with markets cheering tame inflation numbers that raise the chances of a rate cut by the central bank next week. Apple suppliers like Foxconn also rose in Taiwan, ahead of the consumer tech giant's Q2 earnings due later Tuesday. Trading elsewhere in Asia was volatile, with benchmark indexes swinging between positive and negative territory. JPMorgan's Andrew Economos says events in the euro zone are making investors nervous. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JPMORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT'S ANDREW ECONOMOS SAYING: "Well we have this unhappy cohort of very slow growth, anemic growth and political instability and continued uncertainty. And I think those two characteristics are basically clouding the market outlook." Along with weak euro zone factory data, markets fear the run-off vote in France, and the resignation of the Dutch government may delay approvals for austerity measures, and lead to a longer recession. But Economos is less pessimistic about the common currency bloc. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JPMORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT'S ANDREW ECONOMOS SAYING: "I think the bad news is out on Europe, and if Europe were in such a bad situation, we'd see the euro collapse against the dollar and the euro has held up. So that's my indicator, that's what I'm watching." The euro was largely flat in Asian trade, after closing half a percent lower Monday. Arnold Gay, Reuters.