Global Shares Lower Wednesday

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares slid in subdued trading Wednesday after the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve said he's feeling more optimistic about the economy.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 lost 0.4 percent in early trading to 5,322.28, while Germany's DAX was down 0.5 percent at 12,427.95. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.4 percent to 7,252.20. U.S. shares were set to drift to a recovery with Dow futures up 0.1 percent at 25,443. S&P 500 futures were also up 0.1 percent at 2,750.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 1.4 percent to finish at 22,068.24. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.7 percent at 6,016.00. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.2 percent to 2,427.36. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.4 percent at 30,844.72, while the Shanghai Composite index stood at 3,259.41, down nearly 1.0 percent.

THE FED: Testimony by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell before Congress was highly anticipated, and he gave encouraging words about the economic data that has arrived in recent weeks. But some investors speculated it could mean the central bank will get more aggressive in raising interest rates. The Fed raised its key policy interest rate three times last year and has signaled another three increases may be coming this year.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 fell 35.32 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,744.28. It had been bouncing between modest gains and losses, but the losses accelerated after Powell began answering questions on Capitol Hill. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 299.24, or 1.2 percent, to 25,410.03, and the Nasdaq composite fell 91.11, or 1.2 percent, to 7,330.35.

THE QUOTE: "While the majority of Fed chair Jerome Powell's testimony had been within the market's expectations, the strengthened 'personal outlook' from the Fed chair had certainly inspired bets for further hikes. U.S. markets responded in kind, providing weak leads for Asian equities into the end of the month," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

CHINA FACTOR: Data on China's manufacturing activity, which showed that it had weakened to its lowest level in more than a year and a half, also dampened sentiments. The official purchasing managers' index slipped to 50.3 in February from 51.3 the previous month, its biggest drop in nearly six years. The last time the index was lower was in July 2016.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slid 29 cents to $62.72 a barrel. It fell 90 cents to $63.01 per barrel Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 28 cents to $66.24 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.18 yen from 106.99 late Tuesday. The euro dipped to $1.2202 from $1.2331.

(BE)