World stock markets weak amid Japan Airlines bankruptcy, caution ahead of more US earnings

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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HONG KONG - World stock markets were mostly lower Tuesday as Japan Airlines filed for bankruptcy in one of the nation's largest corporate failures and investors awaited a batch of earnings from major U.S. companies.
The lacklustre trade came after Wall Street was closed for a holiday and European shares advanced Monday as investors focused on possible corporate mergers. Oil prices hovered near US$78 a barrel, while the dollar slipped against the yen and the euro.
This week brings another round of quarterly results from bellwethers like Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo&Co., both of which are seeking to bolster their finances after being bailed out with tens of billions in taxpayer money during the crisis. Starbucks Corp. will also release results. In each case, investors will be paying close attention to what company results indicate about the state of consumer demand.
As European markets opened, benchmarks in Germany, France and Britain were down 0.5 per cent or more. Futures augured a modest rise Tuesday on Wall Street. S&P futures were up 1.2 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 1,133.50.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 stock average slipped 90.18, or 0.8 per cent, to 10,764.90 with exporters hit by the stronger yen. After the market closed, Japan Airlines filed for bankruptcy, ending months-long speculation about its fate and launching a massive overhaul to shed the fat and inefficiency that hobbled Asia's biggest airline.
JAL shares, which have lost more than 90 per cent of their value over the last week, tumbled another 20 per cent Tuesday to 4 yen before finishing flat at 5 yen. The company is now essentially worthless, with a market capitalization of about 10.9 billion yen ($120 million) - less than the price of one Boeing 787 jet.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 217.97, or 1 per cent, to 21,677.98 and China's Shanghai index edged up 9.78 points, or 0.3 per cent, to close at 3,246.87.
But most other Asian markets fell. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.1 per cent to 1,710.22, Australia's market shed 1 per cent, India's Sensex was down 0.4 per cent and Taiwan retreated 1.1 per cent.
Oil prices rose above $78 before retreating in late afternoon trade. Benchmark crude for February was down 16 cents to $77.82 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In currencies, the dollar slipped to 90.44 yen from 90.73 yen. The euro traded higher at $1.4392 from $1.4380.

Organizations: Japan Airlines, Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo Starbucks Corp. S&P New York Mercantile Exchange

Geographic location: U.S., HONG KONG, Germany France Britain Tokyo Asia China Shanghai South Korea Australia India Taiwan

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