Global stocks edge lower after series of gains

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BEIJING (AP) — Global stocks were mostly lower Monday as momentum faded from a week of strong gains on Wall Street.

KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, France's CAC-40 shed 0.7 percent to 4,877.43 and Germany's DAX declined 0.3 percent to 11,089.22. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent to 6,301.90. Futures pointed to losses on Wall Street. Dow futures fell 0.1 percent to 17,780.00 and S&P 500 futures shed 0.1 percent to 2,085.60. Last week, U.S. stocks recorded their best week this year on gains by retailers and technology companies as investors put jitters about the Paris attacks behind them.

FED EXPECTATIONS: Investors have gradually gotten used to the idea that the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates at its December meeting from record-low levels. They had been concerned, because higher rates can depress stock prices. But investors appear to have come around to seeing a possible hike as a positive sign that the Fed believes the economy is on solid footing.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The market is looking beyond the first rate hike and focusing on Fed's reiteration that the pace of rate normalisation is going to be gradual, very very gradual," said IG analyst Bernard Aw in a report. Minutes from Fed meetings "have hinted that the pace will be much slower than that of previous rate hike cycles," he said. "In that regard, despite the Fed potentially raising rates in December, it will still be considered as dovish," said Aw.

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 percent to 3,610.31 while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7 percent to 2,003.70. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.4 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,276.40. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Bangkok and Manila advanced. Singapore and Jakarta retreated.

EUROPE STIMULUS: Investors were encouraged by comments Friday from the head of the European Central Bank that it "will not hesitate" to expand stimulus if needed to support a recovery. Mario Draghi's speech at a banking forum in Frankfurt reinforced earlier statements taken by markets as a green light for the bank to take action at the Dec. 3 meeting of its governing council. The ECB could increase its 1.1 trillion euro ($1.2 trillion) program of bond purchases or lower its rate on money deposited at the ECB by banks farther into negative territory.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down $1.21 to $40.69 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 18 cents on Friday to close at $41.90. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 90 cents to $43.76 per barrel in London. The contract rose 48 cents the previous session to $44.60.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 123.21 yen from 122.79 yen. The euro fell to $1.0610 from $1.0649.