Global stocks eke out modest gains at start of busy week

AP News
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Posted: Mar 13, 2017 9:02 AM
Global stocks eke out modest gains at start of busy  week

LONDON (AP) — European stock markets eked out some modest gains Monday after a strong U.S. jobs report helped Wall Street end last week on a high note. However a welter of potential "event risks" this week kept sentiment in check.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 11,985 while the CAC 40 in France added 0.2 percent to 5,002. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.3 percent to 7,362. U.S. stocks were poised for a steady open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures both up 0.1 percent.

FED FOCUS: U.S. rate-setters are set to sanction another quarter point interest rate increase at the conclusion of their two-day meeting on Wednesday, which will take the benchmark Fed rate up to a range of 0.75 - 1.00 percentage point. That won't be a surprise — it's a near unanimous opinion among experts in the markets following a raft of positive economic news, including last Friday's stronger than anticipated payrolls report. There will be more interest in what Fed Chair Janet Yellen says in her subsequent press conference and whether she will indicate that there are more hikes to come this year.

ANALYST TAKE: "Traders appear to be in wait and see mode at the start of the week, with attention firmly on the central bank meetings this week, most notably the Federal Reserve on Wednesday when we'll find out if policy makers successfully guided market expectations in the right direction or went too far," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

RISKS ABOUND: From the expected launch of Britain's exit from the European Union to the Federal Reserve's meeting to discuss another interest rate hike and the outcome of the general election in the Netherlands, there's a lot that could cause volatility in markets this week and even put a brake on the so-called Trump Bump, the months-long rally in stocks.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.2 percent to 19,633.75 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.1 percent to 23,829.67. South Korea's Kospi added 1 percent to 2,117.59. The Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.8 percent to 3,237.02, while Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.3 percent to 5,757.30.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 21 cents to $48.28 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, lost 13 cents to $51.24.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.1 percent to $1.0660 while the dollar was unchanged at 114.74 yen.