European stocks boosted by rebound in Chinese markets

TOKYO - European shares got off to a strong start to the week Monday, helped by a rebound in the wobbly Shanghai Composite index, though other markets in Asia were mostly lower.

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KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX gained 1.2 per cent to 4,858.70 and the CAC 40 of France was up 1.0 per cent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.7 per cent to 5,848.09. U.S. markets are closed for a public holiday on Monday. But Dow futures were up 0.8 per cent and S&P futures gained 0.7 per cent, suggesting an improvement in sentiment following Friday's rout on Wall Street.

CHINA ECONOMY: Fourth-quarter growth figures due Tuesday will likely show that strong consumer spending offset slowing investment, keeping growth in the last quarter at about 6.8 per cent or higher, analysts say. But recent volatility in Chinese markets has overshadowed those trends toward stabilization in China's growth picture.

THE QUOTE: "Nerves are still heavily focused on China as we approach a major economic data dump from China," Angus Nicholson of IG said in a commentary. "However, the calmer waters seen in mainland (Chinese) equities seems to have stemmed some of the sell-off in other regional markets from the initial horror open seen in Australia and Japan."

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.1 per cent to 16,955.57 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.5 per cent to 19,237.45. The Shanghai Composite rebounded from early losses, gaining 0.4 per cent to 2,913.84 and South Korea's Kospi was nearly unchanged at 1,878.45. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7 per cent to 4,858.70. Shares in Taiwan were higher but markets in New Zealand and Southeast Asia declined.

ENERGY: The nuclear deal between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers took effect over the weekend, ending a European oil embargo on the world's seventh-largest oil producer. That is reinforcing expectations that prices will remain weak as supply overwhelms demand. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 39 cents to $29.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.78 on Friday to $29.42 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 54 cents to $28.39 per barrel. It fell $1.94 to $28.94 in London on Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 117.33 yen from 117.00 yen. The euro fell to $1.0883 from $1.0913.


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