September 18, 2021

Global stocks hover as weak European data, trade anxiety offsets U.S. jobs boost


LONDON (Reuters) – Global stocks were little changed on Monday as broadly positive U.S. jobs data quelled some fears about an economic slowdown, but nervousness over U.S.-China trade talks persisted and more weak European economic data trickled in.

FILE PHOTO: A trader works as a screen shows market data behind him at CMC markets in London, Britain, December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

European shares dipped as a fall in German industrial orders data underscored concerns about a looming recession in Europe’s largest economy. The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.13% by 0800 GMT.

Stocks globally took a battering last week, falling to their lowest level in over a month on fears of a U.S. economic slowdown. But positive U.S. jobs data on Friday helped spark a turnaround.

“I think the fact that the U.S. jobs report was broadly positive really put the brakes on the fear factor that was circulating last week – that the U.S. has been hit hard by the trade war,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets in London.

Asian stocks rallied in the slipstream of gains on Wall Street, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific Shares outside Japan rising 0.1%.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index .N225 opened higher but reversed course and fell 0.2%. A key Japanese economic index fell in August and the government downgraded its outlook for the economy to “worsening”, suggesting export-reliant Japan could slip into recession.

MSCI’s All-Country World Index, which tracks shares across 47 markets, flitted between positive and negative territory for most of trade in London. It was last flat.

Germany’s DAX .GDAXI declined 0.2% after the data showed industrial orders fell slightly more than expected in August.

Morale among investors in the euro zone dropped in October to its lowest level in more than six years as stimulus measures taken by central banks failed to allay recession fears, a survey by the Sentix research group showed.

Besides the steady trickle of weak economic data, investors also had their eyes on U.S.-China trade talks. Bloomberg reported that Chinese officials are signaling they are increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The report briefly lifted the safe-haven Japanese yen and gold.

An impeachment drive by U.S. Democrats over a whistleblower’s allegations that Trump leveraged $400 million in aid to secure a promise from Ukraine’s President to investigate political rival Joe Biden will continue this week. Several U.S. diplomats will head to Capitol Hill for closed-door testimonies.

On Sunday, lawyers said a second whistleblower had come forward to substantiate the first complaint from an unnamed U.S. government official, which touched off the investigation.

“I think it’s fair to say the second whistleblower coming forward will be an issue for Trump. This strengthens China’s bargaining position in the trade war,” Madden said.

U.S. stock futures were 0.5% lower.

In currencies, the dollar was 0.1% higher against a basket of peers. The euro was 0.1% lower at $1.0967 EUR=EBS. Sterling fell as investors fear Britain and the European Union are no closer to agreeing a Brexit withdrawal deal.

Euro zone government bond yields were little changed as investors weighed the prospects of a resilient economy in the United States against concern that U.S.-Sino trade negotiations would fail.

Yields in the euro area traded broadly neutral, with the German 10-year Bund yield falling 0.4 basis points to -0.59%.

Portuguese bonds were also supported by news on Friday that DBRS has upgraded Portugal’s credit rating.

Oil prices rose. Brent crude futures were higher by 0.2% at $58.51 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude were 0.5% higher at $53.06.

Spot gold, fell 0.14% to $1,502.30 per ounce.

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Additional reporting by Stanley White in Tokyo; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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Ritvik Carvalho