European Stocks To See Positive Start

Asian Market 100912 18May15

The European markets are seen inching higher on Monday as Treasury yields dropped and tepid U.S. data pushed back expectations of a long-awaited interest-rate hike. The dollar remains on the back foot and gold held steady close to a three-month high, while oil prices edged higher in Asian deals amid fresh tensions in Yemen and Iraq.

Islamic State militants said they had taken full control of the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's largest province, dealing a crushing setback to U.S.-backed efforts to halt the spread of the extremist group. Meanwhile, speculation is rife that OPEC is unlikely to cut output at the upcoming June 5 meeting.

In economic news, the average asking price for a new house in the United Kingdom fell 0.1 percent sequentially in May, property tracking website Rightmove said, after a 1.6 percent increase in April. On an annual basis, house prices advanced 2.5 percent, slowing from the 4.7 percent increase in the previous month.

A quarterly report released by the British Chambers of Commerce and DHL Express showed that British manufacturers reported growth in export orders and sales in the first quarter. About 46 percent of manufacturers said export orders improved in the first quarter, compared to 36 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the International Trade Outlook report.

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Greece's long-term foreign- and local currency issuer default ratings at 'CCC', but warned that default on its debt was a "real possibility."

The EU and Germany both have rejected the possibility of a Grexit, even as German politicians kept up the pressure on the country over the weekend to implement reforms.

The U.S. economic calendar remains light today, with investors awaiting a reading on the National Association of Home Builders' housing market index for May 2015 and a speech by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans for further clues about the strength of the world's largest economy and the outlook for interest rates. Data on housing starts will be out tomorrow, while minutes from the Fed's April meeting will be published on Wednesday.

Asian shares are mostly lower as soft U.S. data stirred concerns about the pace of economic recovery in the world's largest economy. Japan's Nikkei index is rising 0.7 percent after a report showed core machinery orders grew in March for the first time in two months, pointing to signs of rising capital spending.

In domestic corporate news, French luxury goods company Kering SA, parent company of Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other luxury brands, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. against Alibaba Group Holding for aiding the sales of counterfeit versions of its products.

British online gaming company 888 Holdings has tabled an offer for rival Bwin.Party, the Sunday Times reported, with a takeover approach expected to come as early as Monday.

The European markets closed firmly in negative territory on Friday as a stronger euro on the back of lackluster U.S. economic data weighed on exporters. The German DAX index lost a percent, France's CAC 40 shed 0.7 percent and the FTSE of the U.K. eased 0.2 percent.

U.S. stocks ended narrowly mixed showing little change on Friday even as the small moves helped the S&P 500 crawl to a fresh record high for the second straight session. Economic reports were disappointing, with a gauge of consumer sentiment falling to a seven-month low and industrial production falling for a fifth straight month, adding to concerns over the strength of the economic recovery. Factory activity in New York increased slightly in May, but not by as much as analysts had hoped for, pushing down the dollar and bond yields.

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