European stocks mostly drop after rally

London: Europe’s major stock markets mostly slid on Monday, as investors set aside a bright performance in Asia and paused following last week’s bumper gains, dealers said.

“European stocks have had a stuttering start to the week, with strong Asian gains failing to inspire confidence closer to home,” said IG analyst Joshua Mahony.

“Markets (in Europe) are treading water after a week of substantial gains across global stocks.

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“Much of the focus has been on US-China trade talks, and whilst we saw little by way of notable breakthroughs, the tone and willingness to find a solution is certainly improving,” Mahony added.

London and Frankfurt stocks each dipped 0.2 percent in value but Paris eked out a slender gain of 0.1 percent around the half-way mark.

The dollar rose versus the yen but fell against the euro and pound.

UK markets showed little reaction after seven MPs from Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Monday broke away in protest at leader Jeremy Corbyn’s support for Brexit and his failure to stamp out anti-Semitism.

Sentiment was subdued also with US markets closed for the Presidents’ Day holiday.

“With US markets out for the Presidents’ Day holiday, volumes are likely to start to diminish in the afternoon session,” noted CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

– Asia rally –

Elsewhere, Asian equities rallied as investors grow increasingly confident that China and the United States will eventually hammer out a deal to end their long-running trade war.

Asian bourses advanced “thanks to growing optimism over the US-China trade talks”, said Russ Mould, investment director at stockbroker AJ Bell.

While talks ended Friday in Beijing with no deal, negotiators shift to Washington this week with Donald Trump saying discussions were going “extremely well” and suggesting he could extend a March 1 truce deadline for an agreement to be reached.

The high-level discussions between the economic superpowers are expected to yield a memorandum of understanding ahead of a meeting between Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to finalise a pact.

The positive news comes at a crucial time as China’s economy stutters and the global outlook looks less certain, with the US also showing signs of slowing.

European and US stock markets had leapt Friday as positive signs emerged from US-China trade talks aimed at averting an escalation of a tariff war between the world’s top two economies.

Markets had jumped also on a bipartisan deal to avert another US government shutdown, and also on the Federal Reserve’s recent dovish tone on interest rates.

In commodities on Monday, world oil prices held steady after soaring last week on signs that OPEC members and other major producers led by Russia are cutting output.

– Key figures around 1130 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,221.87 points

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 11,272.72

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 5,159.11

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,242.06

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.8 percent at 21,281.85 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.6 percent at 28,347.01 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 2.7 percent at 2,754.36 (close)

New York – Dow: UP 1.7 percent at 25,883.25 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1325 from $1.1296 at 2200 GMT Friday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2932 from $1.2889

Dollar/yen: UP at 110.54 yen from 110.47 yen

Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN two cents at $66.23 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 37 cents at $55.96


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