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European stocks higher after latest Wall St record

Monday 08:50 GMT

Overview

European stock markets are making gains, tracking another set of record highs for Wall Street’s main equities gauges. The rally reaches the region even after Asia missed out, with banking and commodity stocks leading a sell-off there.

Hot topic

US equity futures are pointing to further gains after a late rally on Friday pushed the S&P 500 up 0.2 per cent while the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 per cent. The Dow has now closed at a record high for 11 sessions in a row. It is expected to move deeper into record territory with a rise of 0.1 per cent at Monday’s open, with the S&P 500 called up 0.2 per cent.

That comes despite a cautious mood as investors grapple with a lack of clarity regarding the Trump administration’s economic policies, curtailing an equities rally kicked off by Donald Trump’s election victory.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, is flat at 101.10. The yield on 10-year US Treasuries, which moves inversely to price, is up 2 basis points at 2.333 per cent after a three-day decline.

Equities

London’s FTSE 100 is up 0.4 per cent in opening trade, with energy and financial stocks leading the way, while Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax 30 is up 0.3 per cent. The international Euro Stoxx 600 is up 0.1 per cent.

Japan’s Topix is down 1 per cent, hit by weakness in the heavyweight mining and banking sectors.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.2 per cent while on the mainland China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.8 per cent.

Sentiment is expected to face a test from a range of political considerations, not least in Europe.

“Any new polling data on the French elections and negotiations regarding Greece will again likely be dominant market drivers,” says Michael Spies at Citi.

“Apart from that, the House of Lords in the UK will continue to discuss the Brexit bill, while in the US President Trump holds his first speech at the Congress. Also in the US, this week could be the last opportunity for various Fed speakers to ‘talk up’ a March rate hike.”

Forex

The euro is up 0.2 per cent at $1.0581 amid the wider trend for a lacklustre dollar, while the yen is 0.1 per cent softer at Y112.24, looking set to end three consecutive sessions of gains.

The pound is down 0.4 per cent at $1.2412, heading down to a two-week low on returning concerns about rising calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Earlier, sterling fell as low as $1.2382,.

Emerging market currencies are making a better showing. Mexico’s peso is 0.3 per cent stronger, with Russia’s rouble 1 per cent stronger and Turkey’s lira 0.5 per cent firmer.

Commodities

Oil prices are recovering after a drop of more than 1 per cent on Friday. Brent crude, the international benchmark, is up 1.1 per cent at $56.58 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate gained 0.8 per cent to $54.45.

Gold is a touch lower at $1,254.50 an ounce following three straight days of gains that on Friday saw the yellow metal close at its highest level since Mr Trump’s election victory in November.

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