Growth worries weigh on Asian shares, commodities; gold tumbles

Growth worries weigh on Asian shares, commodities; gold tumbles

Concerns over global growth and weak demand pulled down Asian shares and commodities on Thursday, while gold slid as money continued to flow out of gold-backed exchange-traded funds.

European stock markets were seen rebounding after hitting a 2013 low overnight, with financial spreadbetters predicting London's FTSE 100 .FTSE, Paris's CAC-40 .FCHI and Frankfurt's DAX .GDAXI to open up as much as 0.5 per cent. .L.EU

US stock futures were little changed, suggesting a calm Wall Street open after both the Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX and the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC closed down more than 1 per cent overnight. .N

Recent data from China and the United States fell short of market expectations and triggered this week's selling across markets. Some investors saw this as a timely liquidation of one-sided positions built over the past several months, when optimism over the US economic outlook boosted US stocks to record peaks and lifted European shares to multi-year highs.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.7 per cent, with its materials sector .MIAPJMT00PUS taking the hardest hit with a 2.4 per cent slump as precious and base metals prices slid.

Japan's Nikkei average .N225 declined 0.9 per cent. .T

Worries that slowing global growth will dent demand for raw materials hurt sentiment in resources-reliant Australian shares .AXJO, whose 1.2 per cent fall was the biggest among regional bourses.

Worries that slowing global growth will dent demand for raw materials battered shares in resources-reliant Australia, with the index .AXJO off 1.5 per cent, the biggest fall among regional bourses.

"Markets are gradually realizing that the long-term commodity boom, or super-cycle as some people call it, that started around the turn of the century is now over," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors, of Australian stocks.

South Korean shares .KS11 fell 0.9 per cent, weighed down by weakness in US stocks on disappointing corporate earnings reports.

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