By Hideyuki Sano TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares ticked up slightly on Monday after disappointing U.S. economic growth data reduced expectations of a rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve in the next few months. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent in early trade, staying near its one-year high hit last week. Japan's Nikkei fell 1.5 percent as the yen had soared after the Bank of Japan’s stimulus plans underwhelmed investors.
By Michael Fiala CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (Reuters) – Firefighters struggled on Sunday to slow a deadly wildfire that has raged for 10 days near California's Big Sur coast, destroying dozens of homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents and campers, authorities said. The so-called Soberanes Fire, which erupted on July 22 just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, grew by 3,000 acres (1,214 hectares) overnight and has scorched 38,000 acres of parched chaparral and timberland in and around the Los Padres National Forest. "Firefighters are meeting challenges due to topography, fuel load, and dry humidity," said Katherine Garver, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
BEIJING, Aug 1 (Reuters) – – China’s manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in 17 months in July as output and new orders increased, a private business survey showed on Monday. Second-quarter Chinese economic data was slightly stronger than expected, thanks to a housing boom and government infrastructure spending spree that are boosting demand for materials from cement to steel.
A hot air balloon that went down in a fiery crash in a Texas pasture, killing all 16 people on board, likely struck a power line, an investigator said. "There's physical evidence to indicate the balloon or some component of the ballon hit the wires themselves," US National Transportation Safety Board official Robert Sumwalt said at a news conference near the crash site. It was one of the deadliest hot air balloon crashes in history.
Activity in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly shrank in July, an official survey showed on Monday, with small and medium-sized firms leading the fall and reinforcing fears that the economy may once again be losing momentum. After expanding for three consecutive months from March to May, growth in China's factory sector stalled in June, though economic growth slightly beat expectations in the second quarter after near-record credit expansion. Analysts say the economy has mostly steadied, but activity is increasing reliant on growing government spending and debt and many China watchers expected renewed weakness later this year.