Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

London — European stocks edged higher on Monday, shrugging off the weekend’s fractious G7 meeting as investors looked forward to an event-packed week, while receding tensions in Italy nudged the euro towards a recent three-week high.

President Donald Trump’s rejection of a previously signed communiqué separates the US from its traditional global economic allies and underlines trade tensions, though markets have taken the news as yet another theatrical gesture by the US administration.

If anything, markets believe the G7 summit might force policymakers to adopt a cautious stance as two of the world’s top central banks — the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) — are set to tighten policy this week.

"Though the latest headlines are definitely not positive for global trade, risk appetite is broadly firm across the board as investors are of the view it might force the ECB and the Fed to take a cautious approach," said Neil Mellor, a senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in London.

While stocks wobbled and the dollar edged higher in initial reaction to the G7, which Société Générale termed as a "mess", markets quickly recouped losses, with stocks firmer across the board on expectations that any withdrawal in policy stimulus would be very gradual on the backdrop of rising trade tensions.

An MSCI index of European stocks was up 0.7% in early trading, not far from a recent two-week high.

The S&P 500 futures were 0.1% lower after dropping as much as 0.3% in early trading, indicating a firm start for Wall Street.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped early but was last up 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also gained 0.3% while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5%.

The Fed is almost certain to raise rates again on Wednesday, inching closer to a neutral policy stance, while the ECB is likely to signal on Thursday that its €2.55-trillion bond purchase scheme will end this year, a key move in dismantling crisis-era stimulus.

Italy concerns recede

Also helping risk appetite in early Monday trading were comments from Italy’s new coalition government saying it had no intention of leaving the euro zone and planned to cut debt levels.

In his first interview since taking office a week ago, Economy Minister Giovanni Tria told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday that the coalition was committed to remaining within the single currency and wanted to boost growth through investment and structural reforms.

Bond yields tumbled by 25-50 basis points across the board in Italy while the euro firmed, nearing a recent three-week high. The single currency was up 0.4% at $1.1809 in early trading.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was 0.1% lower at 93.470.

Oil prices slipped on rising Russian production and increasing US drilling activity.

Brent crude futures fell 0.33% to $76.21 a barrel and US crude futures slipped 0.3% to $65.54 a barrel.