World shares eased and the dollar hit a two-month low against the Japanese yen yesterday, after signs of recovery in China's vast factory sector failed to offset worries over the health of the global economy and the Eurozone crisis.
But activity was limited with many markets in Asia and Europe closed for the May Day holiday.
The MSCI's world equity index was down just 0.1 per cent to 328.40, as it added to losses of about 1.5 per cent in April. The stronger yen hit Japan's export-related equities, sending the Nikkei index to a two-and-a-half month closing low.
"In general, stock markets and risk assets seem to be extremely resilient in the face of the news flow which has undoubtedly been in the more negative nature," James Ferguson, strategist at Westhouse Securities, said.
In foreign exchange markets, a view that the weaker growth outlook could encourage the US Federal Reserve to consider further easing monetary policy helped send the dollar to a two-month lowagainst
a basket of currencies.
Against the Japanese yen it fell to a low of 79.64 yen, its weakest point since February 21.
Worries about the health of the global economy have resurfaced since last week's initial releases of US and UK first-quarter growth figures disappointed the market.
Business sentiment surveys and data across the Eurozone have also pointed to a worsening outlook as government austerity measures bite. This came into sharp focus on Monday when Spain officially joined a long list of European nations in recession.
The weakness in the Eurozone was cited as a big factor behind a dip in Britain's manufacturing activity in April, seen in the latest Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) published yesterday. The UK PMI dropped to 50.5 in April from a downwardly revised 51.9 in March.