(Reuters) – Oil prices fell and global equity markets were mixed on Monday after news that Japan unexpectedly slipped into recession in the third quarter renewed concerns about the world economy, but merger activity and comment about European stimulus capped declines.

The Japanese yen steadied against the U.S. dollar, pulling back from a fresh seven-year low, as the news set the stage for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to delay an unpopular sales tax hike and call an election two years before he has to.

Japan’s economy shrank an annualized 1.6 percent, after a 7.3 percent drop in the second quarter, when a sales tax hike hit consumer spending. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected 2.1 percent growth in the third quarter, but consumption and exports remained weak, saddling companies with big inventories.

Tokyo’s Nikkei index .N225 lost 3 percent, its biggest one-day drop since August, and Wall Street was mixed in choppy trade. Brent oil initially fell more than $1 toward $78 a barrel, as Japan is the world’s No. 4 crude importer.

“Concern about deceleration of economic growth particularly in Asia” weighed on markets, said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co in Florham Park, New Jersey.

News that Allergan agreed to be bought by Actavis, while Halliburton said it would buy Baker Hughes in deals worth $100 million, helped offset declines. Allergan and Baker Hughes were the top point gainers on the S&P 500, up 5.5 percent and 10.4 percent, respectfully.

Comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that the bank is ready to do more if its stimulus is not enough to accelerate the euro zone recovery also offset declines.

MSCI’s all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 45 nations, slipped 0.19 percent to 419.54.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 21.74 points, or 0.12 percent, at 17,656.48. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was up 1.06 points, or 0.05 percent, at 2,040.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 12.87 points, or 0.27 percent, at 4,675.67.

European shares rebounded, turning solidly positive after Draghi reasserted he was ready to do more to fight deflation.

The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares rose 0.51 percent to close at 1,352.01.

Read more: Oil down, stocks mixed as Japan slips into recession

Print Friendly

Related posts: