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US, Europe: China and US rates weigh on markets

Weak Chinese data added to investor concerns about a looming US rate hike on Tuesday, with the euro striking a new six-month dollar low.

[LONDON] Weak Chinese data added to investor concerns about a looming US rate hike on Tuesday, with the euro striking a new six-month dollar low.

China's consumer price index reading - the weakest since May - comes days after Beijing data showed a sharp fall in imports and exports, adding to worries about the growth slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

Officials said prices rose 1.3 per cent last month, down from 1.6 percent year-on-year in September.

"A key feature of global economic developments since the 2007 crisis has been the absence of inflation in the major economies," VTB Capital economist Neil MacKinnon said Tuesday.

"This reflects a number of factors, but can mostly be attributed to weak global demand and excess supply." London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.3 per cent, having touched a one-month low during the day, as the China concerns weighed on natural resource companies.

Meanwhile in Paris the CAC 40 ended the day flat and Frankfurt's DAX 30 meanwhile added 0.2 per cent.

"The market decline this week has been far from dramatic, which suggests investors could be ready to pounce on the next bullish piece of market information," said market analyst Jasper Lawler at CMC Markets UK.

"The loss of momentum that first began heading into the US jobs report on Friday has been extended over Monday and Tuesday owed to the couple of disappointing pieces of data from China," he added.

Traders are betting on the US central bank tightening monetary policy in December despite broad weakness across the global economy.

"If the Fed is going for a rate hike in December many investors will now be cautious about buying into equities," said ADS Securities market strategist Nour Al-Hammoury.

Wall Street extended losses on Tuesday, with the Dow dipping 0.1 per cent in midday trading.

Increased prospects of a US rate hike, following much better-than-expected US jobs data on Friday, has meanwhile boosted the dollar's attractiveness.

The euro slumped to a fresh six-month low of US$1.0675 before recovering slightly.

"Dollar bulls have re-emerged on expectations of a December rate-hike from the Fed when all other central banks, including the Bank of England aren't event on the tightening spectrum," said Lawler.

On the corporate front Tuesday, Apple shares shed 2.5 per cent to US$117.59 after Credit Suisse cut its forecasts for iPhone sales next year due to an apparent slowdown in parts orders, according to Bloomberg reported.

Vodafone rose 3.9 per cent to 222.80 pence in London after the British mobile phone giant announced a rise in quarterly revenues, boosting the company's fortunes as its rivals prepare for mega tie-ups.

Underlying revenues rose 1.2 per cent in the three months to September 30, above analyst expectations.

"Our customers are benefiting from the significant investments we are making in high speed mobile and fixed networks, as evidenced by the huge growth in demand for data and the increased loyalty to Vodafone services," said chief executive Vittorio Colao.

In Britain, the company's largest rivals are joining forces - O2 with Three, while BT Group is in the process of buying EE in the face of fierce competition.