Asia stocks lackluster as focus shifts back to China economy

Asian stock markets were lackluster Tuesday despite a record day on Wall Street after Australia left interest rates unchanged and investors looked ahead to the release of China's growth target.

Associated Press
The Nasdaq composite index closed above 5,000 for the first time since the dot-com bubble peaked 15 years ago.

Keeping score:

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 18,769.37 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was little changed at 24,883.55. China's Shanghai Composite fell 1.1 percent to 3,299.43 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 5,938.30. Seoul's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,000.87. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

Australia rate:

The Reserve Bank of Australia left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 2.25 percent, disappointing investors who expected it would be cut to a record low of 2 percent. The central bank cut the interest rate at its last meeting in early February, responding to a slowdown in Australia's economy triggered by reduced commodity demand from China. It left the door open to a rate cut or rate cuts later in the year.

China meeting:

China's ceremonial legislature starts its annual session on Thursday and is expected to announce a growth target for 2015. Last year's target was 7.5 percent, which China narrowly missed, posting growth of 7.4 percent that was the slowest in 24 years. There are expectations the target will be lower this year as China manages a multiyear shift in its economy away from industrial led growth to more emphasis on consumers and services.

Wall Street:

The Nasdaq composite marked a dot-come milestone, closing above 5,000 for the first time since its dot-com era peak nearly 15 years ago. The Nasdaq rose 44.57 points, or 0.9 percent. The S&P 500 closed up 12.89 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,117.39. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 155.93 points, or 0.9 percent, to 18,288.63.

NASDAQ milestone:

The long climb back for the Nasdaq, once a symbol of investor recklessness and self-delusion, has been marked by significant changes in its composition. Telecommunications stocks now represent less than 1 percent of the index, versus 12 percent in 2000. Gone also is the heavy reliance on Internet companies with little or no earnings.


Benchmark U.S. crude was up 28 cents to $49.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 17 cents to close at $49.59 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 80 cents to $60.34 a barrel in London.


The dollar was trading at 119.74 yen, down from its previous close of 120.14 yen. The euro was little changed at $1.1192 from $1.1183.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to