Global Markets Fall Wednesday

TOKYO (AP) -- Shares fell in early European trading Wednesday after a bleak day in Asia, as sinking crude oil prices weighed on oil producers and other energy stocks. Investors are awaiting U.S. inflation data and watching developments on U.S. tax reform legislation.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX dropped 0.8 percent to 12,933.77 and the CAC 40 of France lost 0.4 percent to 5,296.46. Britain's FTSE 100 gave up 0.5 percent to 7,380.03. Wall Street looked set for further losses with S&P 500 futures down 0.4 percent and Dow futures also off 0.4 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index tumbled 1.6 percent to 22,028.32, as manufacturers' shares were stung by a stronger yen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.0 percent to 28,851.69 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.8 percent to 3,402.52. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.6 percent to 5,934.20 and the Kospi of South Korea declined 0.3 percent to 2,518.25. India's Sensex shed 0.6 percent to 32,730.81. Taiwan fell and shares in Southeast Asia were mostly lower.

ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "Heading into year-end the only risk that is certain, other than the December U.S. rate hike, is uncertainty itself making risk-taking little more than a fool's errand," Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a market commentary.

JAPAN DATA: Japan's economy expanded at a 1.4 percent annualized rate in July-September in the seventh straight quarter of growth for the world's third-largest economy. The economy is in its longest period of expansion since 2001. But growth slowed from a 2.6 percent annualized rate of growth in April-June, the Cabinet Office reported Wednesday. Strong exports are helping offset relatively weak household demand. Private consumption fell 0.5 percent in July-September, the first such decline in seven quarters, the report said.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude sank 49 cents to $55.21 per barrel, or 0.9 percent, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $1.06, or 1.9 percent, on Tuesday to settle at $55.70 per barrel, the biggest single-day decline since October. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 54 cents to $61.67 per barrel. It declined 95 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $62.21 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.82 yen from 113.43 yen on Tuesday. The euro surged to $1.1840 from $1.1796.