European stocks may drift lower on Monday, tracking mixed Asian cues as weaker-than-expected growth data from Japan stoked concerns about global economic growth.
That said, commodities are trading mixed, with crude prices rising while copper is little changed as the weak Japanese data spurred hopes of more stimulus from central banks. John Williams, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, said on Friday that he supports another round of bond purchases to help lower the U.S. unemployment rate more quickly.
Separately, Adam Posen, an outgoing member of the bank's Monetary Policy Committee , said in an interview to the Financial Times that the Bank of England could do much more to foster the recovery of the economy.
The central bank could be much more effective in fostering economic recovery if it ditched "anguished religious ethics" over what it considered reasonable intervention, Posen was quoted as saying during the interview published on Sunday.
Japanese GDP growth slowed to 0.3 percent in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the previous three months, the Cabinet Office said in a preliminary reading - suggesting that the recovery from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami remains stuck in neutral.
The headline figure missed forecasts for an increase of 0.6 percent following the 1.6 percent gain in the first quarter. On a yearly basis, GDP added 1.4 percent - also shy of expectations for a jump of 2.5 percent following the 4.7 percent gain in the previous three months.
Closer home, the immediate jobs outlook for the U.K. remains positive as employers are holding on to staff to avoid losing skills despite low levels of demand, the latest Labor Market Outlook survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development revealed.
The net employment balance that measures the difference between the proportion of employers that intend to increase total staffing levels and those that intend to decrease total staffing levels came in at 5 in the third quarter, compared to 6 in the prior quarter.
Across the Atlantic, a report on U.S. retail sales for July 2012 is due for release tomorrow, while data on July consumer-price index and the August Empire State index will be out on Wednesday.
In domestic corporate news, German mobile service provider Drillisch AG reported a decline in net income for the first half of 2012 despite higher revenues.
Utility E.ON AG reported first-half net profit attributable to the company's shareholders of 2.91 billion euros, with underlying net income up by 2.4 billion euros year-over-year to roughly 3.3 billion euros.
Deutsche Wohnen AG's first-half consolidated group profit rose to 36.9 million euros from 16.9 million euros in the previous year.
Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, said it has received the U.S. FDA approval for Lucentis, or ranibizumab injection, used to treat diabetic macular edema or DME, an eye condition in people with diabetes that causes blurred vision, severe vision loss and sometimes blindness.
Swiss private-banking group Julius Baer Group said it has consented to buy Merrill Lynch's international wealth management business outside the U.S. from Bank of America Corp.
Titan International Inc. said that it has reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended share offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Titan Europe Plc.
European stocks came under pressure on Friday after data from China showed both export and import growth slowed more than expected in July, adding to a string of downbeat data released this week.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks fell 0.6 percent and the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, slid 0.1 percent, while around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100, the German DAX, Switzerland's SMI and France's CAC 40 lost between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent.
U.S. stocks shrugged off morning weakness to finish slightly higher on Friday, as weak Chinese trade as well as bank-lending data spurred fresh hopes of more central bank stimulus. The Dow rose 0.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained marginally and the S&P 500 ended 0.2 percent higher.
by RTT Staff Writer
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