European stocks start week with gains

GMT 20:35 2015 Monday ,20 July

Arab Today, arab today European stocks start week with gains

European stocks
London - AFP

Europe's main stock markets rose on Monday as investors followed developments in Greece, which made massive loan repayments to creditors and reopened its banks.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index added 0.20 percent to end the day at 6,788.69 points.

In the eurozone, the CAC 40 in Paris edged up 0.35 percent to 5,142.49 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.53  percent to 11,735.72 points compared with Friday's close.

Focus remained firmly on Greece, where banks re-opened their doors Monday after a three-week shutdown imposed to prevent a mass cash withdrawal that could have caused the financial system to collapse.

The Greek government made a 4.2 billion euro ($4.6 billion) loan repayment due to the European Central Bank on Monday as well as outstanding sums owed to the International Monetary Fund, both creditors said in statements.

"News on Monday that Greece had made scheduled payments to the ECB and IMF using its newly-agreed bridge finance was encouraging," said analyst Jennifer McKeown at Capital Economics.

But she also warned of possible political upheaval with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras "fighting against considerable dissent from within his party, which could prompt an early election this autumn."

The euro strengthened against the dollar after earlier weakness caused by expectations of a US interest rate rise by the end of the year.

The European single currency stood at $1.0855 compared with $1.0830 late on Friday in New York.


- Gold at five-year low -

Gold slumped to the lowest point in nearly five and a half years, weighed down by reports of massive selling in China, dealers said.

The precious metal tumbled to $1,072.35 in Asian deals, striking the lowest point since February 11, 2010, and breaching the key psychological barrier of $1,100.

Gold had already slid Friday on the back of the strong dollar, which soared last week after US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen reaffirmed expectations of an interest rate hike by year's end.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies. That tends to dent demand and, in turn, pull prices lower.

Analysts said investors are now beginning to refocus on macroeconomic data after the past few months were dominated by the Greek debt crisis and a more than 30 percent plunge in Chinese stocks.

"With the relative calm that has engulfed Europe, traders are feeling a little more comfortable and focusing on equities and the deluge of corporate data hitting them in this latest reporting season," said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG trading group.

In London, shares of Pearson, the British publisher of the Financial Times, dived 1.57 percent to 1,255 pence on rumours it was sounding out potential buyers for its influential economic and business daily, though no decision to sell has been taken, Bloomberg News reported.

Embattled banks were also in focus with a report saying Barclays could shed 30,000 jobs, while Standard Chartered unveiled a streamlined management team.

Barclays' share price rose 0.27 percent to close at 280.85 pence, while Standard Chartered advanced by 0.93 percent in value to 1,026.50 pence.

US stocks climbed Monday following solid earnings from Morgan Stanley and Lockheed Martin's purchase of Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies for $9 billion.

In New York mid-day trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 18,120.25, up 0.19 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.10 percent at 2,128.86, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.19 percent to 5,220.28.

Asian stocks were mixed Monday, with Sydney and Shanghai rising as concerns eased over Greece and China's recent market rout.

Shanghai ended 0.88 percent higher at 3,992.11 points, while Sydney added 0.30 percent to close at 5,686.90.

Hong Kong was flat at 25,404.81, while Seoul closed 0.17 percent lower at 2,073.31.

Tokyo and Jakarta were closed for public holidays.

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