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Stock markets bounce, dollar flat

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US and European stock markets rebounded strongly on Monday but Asia struggled to mount a recovery, as volatility grips global equities.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 1.2 percent compared with the close on Friday as Wall Street opened for trading.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 surged 1.6 percent and the Paris CAC 40 rallied 1.3 percent.

US equities also pushed higher at the open of trading, with the Dow gaining 0.8 percent during the first minute of trading.

The dollar was broadly steady against its major rival currencies.

“Investors are breathing a sigh of relief after the torrid times last week, with European equity markets rallying,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

“Buying the dip has been a very difficult call in recent days, with every attempt at engagement punished in subsequent market moves, so investors will be hoping that this is a genuine buying opportunity.”

Elsewhere Monday, Asian markets struggled to hold early gains.

After a stellar 2017 and a January that saw record and multi-year highs for stock markets around the world, traders are banking profits as rising US inflation lifts interest rates.

Equity markets, for years buoyed by post-crisis stimulus, have spiralled into the red as traders fret that the era of cheap cash is at an end.

Patrick O’Hare sounded a note of caution about Monday’s rebound, pointing out that the yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds had creeped up.

“Is that bump in rates tied to the expected rebound in stocks, implying it is a rotation-based trade, or is it linked to growing concerns about a rising budget deficit?” he queried.

“The answer matters because the former would help sustain the bullish bias, whereas the latter would undermine it,” he said.

Investors will be eagerly awaiting US inflation figures due out Wednesday, which market-watchers say will be key to future movements. A weak reading would give us monetary policymakers a reason to hold off on raising rates at a faster clip.

Monday got off to a calm start across Asia but while some managed to stay in positive territory, the afternoon saw gains eroded or wiped out.

Hong Kong, which sank more than nine percent last week, closed down 0.2 percent, though Shanghai closed up 0.8 percent and Singapore rose 0.1 percent.

Seoul gained 0.9 percent, with traders cheered by signs of a thaw in relations between North and South Korea during the Winter Olympics.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

In commodities trading, both main oil contracts climbed on Monday after sliding last week.

Bitcoin traded up at $8,676.73 from $8,552.65 on Friday.

– Key figures around 1430 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: UP 1.2 percent at 7,179.65 points

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.6 percent at 12,303.85

Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.3 percent at 5,146.40

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.4 percent at 3,373.42

New York – DOW: UP 0.8 percent at 24,388.17

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 29,459.63 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 3,154.13 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for a public holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2250 from $1.2249 at 2200 GMT on Friday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3821 from $1.3828

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.61 yen from 108.78 yen

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 60 cents at $63.39 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 69 cents at $59.89


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