Asian shares traded sharply lower Tuesday, closing mostly down, while European equities pared sharp losses early in the session to trade in a mixed range. Markets were reeling under the impact of data from China, where a survey of industrial firms published the previous day showed an 8.8 percent annual decline in profits in August.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 led the losses in Asia, closing down 4.1 percent -- giving up its gains for the year and hitting an eight-month low. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 closed down 3.8 percent, as local mining and energy stocks fell following Glencore’s 28-percent plunge in London overnight and a 30 percent drop in the shares of the firm’s Hong Kong-listed unit Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2 percent, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index fell 1.5 percent. In India, the benchmark Sensex, which fell more than 300 points during early trade, recovered later in the day -- buoyed by the central bank’s decision to cut its key interest rate more than expected -- to close up 0.6 percent.
“[The sell-off today] is all about China,” ING Financial Markets’ head of research for Asia, Tim Condon, told CNBC. “The number yesterday has rekindled worries and [alongside the] weak data [in the U.S. overnight] people thought that maybe what’s happening in China is spilling over into the U.S.”
Deepening concerns over the health of the Chinese economy also weighed on European bourses, which opened mostly lower Tuesday.
The pan-European STOXX 600 opened 1.1 percent lower, but recovered later to trade down 0.3 percent. London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.5 percent, even as shares of Glencore -- which was the worst-performing stock in the benchmark index Monday -- recovered to trade up 7 percent. France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX were both trading flat, after shaking off early losses.
U.S. stock markets, meanwhile, seemed poised to recover from Monday’s rout, with futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all up about 0.2 percent.