Global stock markets were mixed Monday as a dearth of market-moving news kept many investors on the sidelines following recent strong gains, which saw major Wall Street indexes hit new highs. Earnings statements out of the U.S. will likely be the main driver this week.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, London's FTSE 100 index rose 0.5 percent to 7,420, while France's CAC 40 was up 0.1 percent at 5,242. Germany's DAX was 0.1 percent lower at 12,621. Wall Street was poised for a pretty uninspiring open, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.
WALL STREET: Both the Dow and the S&P indexes closed out last week at record highs as traders cheered suggestions from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the central bank may not raise interest rates as fast as markets had been pricing in. Softer than anticipated inflation data reinforced that view. The focus this week could well be more on the U.S. second-quarter earnings report. It's a slow start this week, the main ones due Monday from Netflix and BlackRock.
ANALYST TAKE: "Looking to the U.S. open and Monday's inertia seems set to continue, with the Dow Jones futures promising a slight 30 point increase after the bell," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex. "That would still, however, help the Dow hit a fresh record peak, the index benefiting greatly from the Federal Reserve's new-found rate hike reticence."
CHINESE GROWTH: The main economic news Monday was China's economic growth holding steady at 6.9 percent in the second quarter. That was higher than most forecasts. Growth was boosted by unexpectedly strong retail sales and trade, which offset softer investment. Forecasters warned that strength was unlikely to last because tighter controls on bank lending aimed at cooling a surge in debt will weigh on investment, a major component in growth.
ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.3 percent to 26,470.58 and Seoul's Kospi added 0.4 percent to 2,425.10. The Shanghai Composite Index was off 1.4 percent at 3,176.46, while Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. India's Sensex advanced 0.3 percent to 32,104.77 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 shed 0.2 percent to 5,755.50. Benchmarks in Singapore and Manila rose while Bangkok and Jakarta declined.
ENERGY: Oil prices were subdued, with benchmark U.S. crude down 9 cents at $46.46 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was a cent lower at $48.90 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: Foreign exchange markets were similarly subdued, with euro down 0.1 percent to $1.1464 and the dollar 0.1 percent lower at 112.45 yen.