NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- China's securities regulator is probing the impact of automated trading on stock markets after the heavy falls in the markets over the past months. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has launched investigations of "share dumping" and declared war on "malicious short-sellers" in the past weeks. It announced automated trading as the latest focus of its investigations on Friday, as share markets lost even more ground.

  • Household spending in Japan fell unexpectedly and inflation was weak in June, raising the specter of a contraction in the second quarter. Annual core consumer inflation, which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 0.1% in June, but core consumer prices in Tokyo, a leading indicator of nationwide inflation, fell 0.1% in July. This was the first annual decline in Tokyo inflation since April 2013.
  • Worries about the global economy dented consumer confidence in the U.K., with the GfK consumer sentiment index falling to +4 in July after jumping to +7 in June, when it hit the highest level in 15 years.
  • Greece's left-wing ruling party Syriza decided to hold a congress in September rather than now, avoiding more turmoil that would have derailed negotiations for the country's third bailout by international creditors. A formal division within Syriza would hit Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' coalition and force snap elections, the Wall Street Journal writes. Snap national elections are expected to follow the congress in fall.
  • Profit before tax at U.K.'s Lloyds Banking Group (LYG), which is still partly owned by the government, jumped by 38% to 1.2 billion pounds ($1.87 billion) in the first half of the year, but was below analysts' expectations of 1.8 billion pounds.