Stock markets fall in the first day of 2019 trading

Major stock indices in Europe and Asia fell sharply on Wednesday after new data suggested that China's large manufacturing industry came in December.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 2.8% lower. Shanghai Composite fell 1.2% and Australia's ASX fell 1.6%. Japan's markets were closed for a holiday holiday.
In the UK, FTSE in the UK was down 1.9% early in the morning, while France's CAC fell 2.1% and Germany's DAX shed 1%.
New Year's seller-off comes after a difficult 2018 for many investors. Last year was the worst for US stocks since 2008. December was a particularly horrible month, with Dow plunging 8.7%.

Chinese economy under pressure

Among the major concerns of investors is weak growth in China, the world's second largest economy, and continuing trade tensions with the United States. The Shanghai composite sank nearly 25% last year, making it the world's most incredible market.

There were new signs of weakness in China on Wednesday.

  Think Wall Street had a bad year? China was even worse
The latest purchasing manager's index survey, conducted by the media group Caixin and research firm Markit, fell to 49.7 in December from 50.2 in November. It is this second time this week that data has indicated China's large manufacturing sector, is now contracting.
"The Chinese economy is increasingly likely to come under greater downward pressure," said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group research firm, in a statement accompanying the Caixin PMI release.
Analysts said many investors are now focusing on the prospect of a significant global economic downturn over the next 18 months.
Other concerns include rising US interest rates and uncertainties around Britain's planned EU exit, said Kyle Rodda, a Melbourn-based analyst at IG Group broker.

"Any extra move on a global economy that already feels the clamp … is very unwelcomed," he said.

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