Markets were mixed in Asia on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei closed the day up 1.37 percent, but ended the month down 0.6 percent, breaking a nine-month streak. The index is expected to face at least a short period of both increased volatility and increased risk aversion, according to analysts and economists. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng declined 0.41 percent, while the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.08 percent in Australia.
European markets declined in mid-day trading after a labor market report showed a rise in the region’s unemployment rate. Germany’s DAX was off 0.42 percent, London’s FTSE 100 was off 0.91 percent, and the STOXX 50 index was off 0.52 percent.
U.S. futures at 8:45 a.m.: DJIA: -0.50%, S&P 500: -0.52%, NASDAQ: -0.50%.
Here are three stories to keep an eye on:
1) European Unemployment Edges Up: Unemployment in Europe edged up to a record high in April, according to data released by Eurostat on Friday. The unemployment rate in the EA17 was 12.2 percent, up from 12.1 percent in March. In the EU27, unemployment remained flat at 11.0 percent. Unemployment in both regions is up considerably from year-ago levels of 11.2 and 10.3 percent, respectively.
2) European Inflation Edges Up: The annual inflation rate in the euro area is expected to be 1.4 percent in March, according to data released by Eurostat on Friday. This is up from an annual rate of 1.2 percent in April. The highest increases (+3.3 percent) are expected in the food, alcohol, and tobacco component, with slight deflation (-0.2 percent) in energy.
3) Indian Economic Output Beats Expectations: India’s Central Statistics Office announced on Friday that it estimates first-quarter GDP growth at 4.8 percent, slightly above the 4.7 percent expected by economists. However, new data for the 2012-2013 financial year show GDP growth at 5.0 percent, which is low compared to the 6.2 percent growth in the 2011-2012 period, and the weakest performance in a decade.
At current prices, gross national income is estimated to have grown 13.1 percent, while per capita income is estimated to have climbed 11.7 percent.