European markets weaker as US markets closed for Martin Luther King holiday


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European stocks closed lower Monday as US markets were closed for a holiday and investors in the region gear up for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Stoxx 600 index closed down 0.5 per cent, with other major bourses and most sectors in negative territory. Household goods fell 1% as travel stocks climbed 0.9 per cent.

In key markets, the FTSE closed down 0.39 per cent, the DAX down 0.49 per cent and the CAC down 0.72 per cent.

In economic news the German economy contracted 0.3 per cent in 2023, initial figures published by the national statistics agency showed. High inflation, rising interest rates and weaker domestic and foreign demand all weighed on gross domestic product.

Markets will now be focusing on the upcoming Davos Forum. This year, global trade, inflation, supply chains, technological change and wars in the Middle East and Ukraine are expected to top the agenda.

Mainland China’s market pared losses after the country’s central bank left its medium-term policy loans rate unchanged in a surprise move on Monday, but continued to inject liquidity.

The People’s Bank of China said in a release that it held the rate at 2.50% on some 995 billion yuan ($138.84 billion) worth of one-year medium-term lending facility loans. 

Futures

The SPI futures are pointing to a 0.3 per cent fall.

Currency

One Australian dollar at 7.45am was buying 66.58 US cents.

Commodities

Gold gained 0.36 per cent. Silver added 0.26 per cent. Copper gained 1.16 per cent. Oil lost 0.25 per cent.

Figures around the globe

Turning to Asian markets, Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.91 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.17 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.15 per cent higher.

The Australian share market closed 0.03 per cent lower at 7,496.27

Sources: Bloomberg, FactSet, IRESS, TradingView, UBS, Bourse Data, Trading Economics, CoinMarketCap.

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