In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.24% by the late afternoon, with autos falling 1.1% to lead losses while tech and utilities stocks added 0.3%. Pennon Group shares jumped 6% after the Telegraph newspaper reported that the British water company plans to sell its waste arm Viridor. Tullow Oil climbed 5.8% after BMO upgraded the stock to “outperform” and raised its price target. NMC Health slid 2.9% as Goldman Sachs disclosed an 8.9% stake in the Abu Dhabi-based hospital chain.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar index edged higher on Monday before a heavy week of data, while sterling was the weakest performer after tepid growth increased the likelihood that the Bank of England will cut interest rates this month. The pound slipped after data on Monday showed that Britain’s economy grew at its weakest annual pace in more than seven years in November. On Sunday, another Bank of England policymaker, Gertjan Vlieghe, said he would vote for a rate cut this month unless economic data improved significantly.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell about 1% on Monday as Middle East tensions eased and investors turned their focus to lackluster seasonal demand following a bearish U.S. report last week showing a large gasoline stockbuild. Brent crude was down 64 cents at $64.34 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 73 cents at $58.31 a barrel. Global benchmark Brent touched $71.75 per barrel last week before ending on Friday below $65.
In US Equity Markets indexes traded just below all-time highs on Monday as investors awaited the signing of a preliminary trade deal between the United States and China, as well as the start of the fourth-quarter earnings season. High-profile technology and internet companies including Apple Inc, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, which have recently powered Wall Street to all-time highs, boosted the main indexes. The S&P 500 was up 0.32%, at 3,275.79 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.48%, at 9,222.53.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields were higher on Monday as traders shifted attention away from Middle East tensions and toward the expected signing of a trade deal between the United States and China. The benchmark 10-year yield was up 1.7 basis points in morning trading to 1.8441%, reflecting increased appetite for risk as U.S. corporations start to report fourth-quarter earnings this week. The two-year yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was up less than a basis point to 1.5761% in Monday morning trading.