Global stocks steady as trade war fears and weak European data offset US jobs news
US jobs data provided a much-needed boost to the markets, but the Trump impeachment drive and German recession fears kept the lid on gains
London — Global stocks were little changed on Monday as broadly positive US jobs data quelled some fears about an economic slowdown, but nervousness over US-China trade talks persisted and more weak European economic data trickled in.
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 8am GMT.
Stocks globally took a battering last week, falling to their lowest level in over a month on fears of a US economic slowdown. But positive US jobs data on Friday helped spark a turnaround.
“I think the fact that the US jobs report was broadly positive really put the brakes on the fear factor that was circulating last week — that the US 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 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 declined 0.2% after the data showed industrial orders fell slightly more than expected in August.
Morale among investors in the eurozone 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 US-China trade talks. Bloomberg reported that Chinese officials are signalling they are increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by US President Donald Trump.
The report briefly lifted the safe-haven Japanese yen and gold.
An impeachment drive by US Democrats over a whistleblower’s allegations that Trump leveraged $400m in aid to secure a promise from Ukraine’s president to investigate political rival Joe Biden will continue this week. Several US 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 US 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.
US 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. Sterling fell as investors fear Britain and the EU are no closer to agreeing a Brexit withdrawal deal.
Eurozone government bond yields were little changed as investors weighed the prospects of a resilient economy in the US against concern that US-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 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude were 0.5% higher at $53.06.
Spot gold fell 0.14% to $1,502.30 an ounce.
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