Global shares inch down as growth worries weigh

Asian shares edged lower today as investors saw further evidence of slowing global growth, while the bleaker economic outlook kept hopes alive that authorities around the world will embark on more stimulus measures.

European stocks were likely to inch higher, while a 0.3 per cent drop in US stock futures signalled a weak Wall Street start. Financial spreadbetters called the main indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt to open up 0.1 per cent.

After dismal Chinese trade figures topped a deluge of weak data from several countries last week, Japan today said its economy grew 0.3 per cent in April-June from the first quarter, half as much as expected, and slowing from 1.3 per cent growth in January-March as Europe's debt crisis weighed on export demand and consumer spending began to lose momentum.

Investors will be watching July US retail sales and consumer prices, along with the Eurozone’s second quarter gross domestic product reading on Tuesday, which is expected to contract. Fears were growing that the three-year Eurozone debt crisis will push the German economy into recession in the second half of 2012.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged down 0.1 per cent after snapping a four-day rally on Friday. But its weekly gain of 2.5 per cent was the largest since January, due to hopes of more vigorous policy action from the central banks of Europe and the US.