London: World stock markets mostly fell on Tuesday after an unexciting start to the US first-quarter corporate earnings season from aluminium company Alcoa Inc.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 16 points, or 0.3%, at 5,761.65 while Germany’s DAX fell 21.29 points, or 0.3%, at 6,229.40.
The CAC-40 in France was 8.19 points, or 0.2%, lower at 4,042.31.
On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 11,000 for the first time in a year and a half on investors’ rising hopes about the economy, while the S&P 500 came within a point of hitting its own milestone of 1,200.
In an after-hours statement, Alcoa, which traditionally kicks off the quarterly earnings season in the US, said its first quarter loss narrowed to $201 million from $497 million in the same period a year ago. But the earnings statement failed to excite—with stocks having rallied sharply from their lows in March 2009, there are growing concerns in the markets that this results season may disappoint as the scope for cost-cutting has been largely exhausted and the global economic recovery remains subdued.
Elsewhere, investors continued to keep a beady eye on developments in Greece following the weekend European Union agreement to extend the country enough credit to cover its needs for this year.
A successful debt issuance by the country on Tuesday has raised hopes that confidence towards taking Greek may be returning—the €1.2 billion issue of short-term treasury bills was oversubscribed, meaning investors were willing to hold Greek debt on condition the returns are high.
Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.8% to 11,161.23, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.2% to 22,103.53. Australia fell 0.7% while Malaysia slid 0.4%.