Asian markets slip overnight
European stock futures and Asian shares fell, the euro weakened and oil headed for the longest weekly losing streak in 13 years after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke damped expectations for monetary stimulus and German exports dropped.
Fitch's announcement that it was downgrading Spain's credit rating also weighed on markets which had been higher yesterday.
Euro Stoxx 50 Index futures slid 0.8 per cent at 7.06am in London, while those for the Standard and Poor's 500 Index lost 0.7 per cent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1.3 per cent, paring its first weekly gain since April. The euro fell 0.5 per cent. Oil sank 2.2 per cent, poised for a sixth week of declines.
Global stocks rallied this week as speculation mounted that policy makers would act to spur growth. Mr Bernanke said the Fed will need to assess conditions before deciding if more measures are required to stoke an economy threatened by Europe's debt crisis and US budget cuts.
German exports declined in April for the first time this year, a report showed. Chinese shares fell in Hong Kong as the nation's first interest-cut since 2008 intensified concern its economic slowdown is deepening.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average tumbled 2.1 per cent. Sony, Japan's biggest exporter of consumer electronics, slid 5.3 per cent as the yen climbed while South Korean rival Samsung Electronics lost 1.4 per cent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index retreated 1 per cent to near a seven-month low.
Anhui Conch Cement slumped 3.3 per cent in Hong Kong after saying first-half profit may drop "considerably."
Italy will today release industrial production data for April, which is forecast to decline.
The euro dropped 0.5 per cent to $1.2502.
On commodity markets, copper fell 2.2 per cent, zinc tumbled 1.4 per cent and nickel slid 1.6 per cent. Oil fell to $82.86.