European stock markets steady as key week kicks off

GMT 13:00 2014 Monday ,15 September

Arab Today, arab today European stock markets steady as key week kicks off

Traders at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
London - AFP

European stock markets were narrowly mixed on Monday, the start of a significant week as the US Federal Reserve holds an interest-rate meeting and Scotland votes on its future.
Ahead of the major events, investors reacted to weak Chinese economic data and a possible shake-up of the beer industry.
In late morning deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.17 percent to stand at 6,795.35 points.
Frankfurt's DAX index edged up 0.13 percent to 9,663.79 points and in Paris the CAC 40 dropped 0.20 percent to 4,432.78 points compared with Friday's close.
"European shares are starting the new trading week on a softer note with unexpectedly weak economic data out of China proving to be a drag on stocks," said Markus Huber, senior analyst at broker Peregrine & Black.
"Furthermore a referendum on Scottish independence taking place this Thursday... is increasingly sowing uncertainty and consequently keeping investors out of stocks."
Beijing said Saturday that industrial production grew 6.9 percent last month, its weakest rate since December 2008.  
The key indicator slumped from 9.0 percent growth in July and was also well short of the 8.7 percent median increase expected in a survey of 15 economists by The Wall Street Journal.
The figures add to worries about the world's number two economy -- a key driver of global commerce -- following recent indicators suggesting growth is weakening even after limited stimulus measures.
On Monday, the OECD cut growth forecasts for most major advanced economies as it warned that the sickly eurozone recovery is a drag on world growth.
- Final Scottish push -
In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday makes his last visit to Scotland ahead of the referendum, hoping to boost the "No" vote, with polls predicting a very tight race.
Markets remain on edge, as the pound slumped last week to 10-month dollar low and three-month euro troughs on fears over the impact of Scottish independence.
First Minister Alex Salmond and his Scottish National Party (SNP) insist Scotland should have a formal, euro-style monetary union with what would remain of the United Kingdom -- England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But the three main British parties reject any such arrangement.
In foreign exchange trading Monday, the pound stood at $1.6267, unchanged from late in New York on Friday.
The euro rose to 79.69 pence versus 79.47 pence on Friday.
The European single currency increased to $1.2964 from $1.2927.
On the London Bullion Market, gold hit an eight-month low at $1,225.67 an ounce.
It later recovered to $1,235.27, up from $1,231.50 late on Friday.
Investors were unsettled by the prospect of higher US interest rates. The Fed has consistently said it would keep interest rates low for a "considerable time" after ending stimulus, based on continued weakness in the labour market.
The Fed could reaffirm that view due to the most recent jobs report, which showed the US added just 142,000 jobs in August. But some observers see a chance the Fed will tweak that policy this week.
- Brewing takeover -
In company activity on Monday, shares in SABMiller rallied 4.58 percent to 3,561.5 pence after Heineken revealed it had rejected a takeover by its British rival.
The hostile bid was itself aimed at protecting SABMiller, the world's second largest brewer, from a takeover by the world's number one, Belgium's AB InBev, analysts said.
AB InBev shares were up 1.14 percent to 86.74 euros.
Shares in Club Med surged 5.59 percent to 22.46 euros in Paris after Chinese conglomerate Fosun revived a takeover bid on Friday.
But shares in Swiss dental firm Nobel Biocare slumped, losing 5.8 percent to 17.05 Swiss francs after its board recommended shareholders should accept a takeover bid from American healthcare group Danaher.
In US market news, Alibaba struck a conciliatory note over its failure to list in Hong Kong, as the Chinese e-commerce giant began an Asian roadshow before a possible record-breaking IPO in New York.
Alibaba's initial public offering starting as early as next week is expected to raise between $19-24 billion (14-18.5 billion euros), and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "BABA".

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