NEW YORK – World stocks mostly fell Monday on weakness in petroleum-linked equities and as a strong euro weighed on European bourses.
Equity markets in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo all fell, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq retreated from records in the US.
Eurozone stocks fell, as the euro, though pulling back a bit from Friday’s level against the dollar, lingered near 2017 peaks on hopes German Chancellor Angela Merkel is close to forming a government.
“Political optimism is picking up in Germany,” said analyst David Madden at CMC Markets.
Merkel has been scrambling to avert snap elections after talks to form a new government with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the left-leaning Greens broke down a week ago.
The Social Democrats had vowed to go into opposition after a disappointing showing in September, but in a U-turn on Friday SPD chief Martin Schulz said he was ready for talks with Merkel’s bloc.
Madden said while the German economy has been managing “just fine” without a functioning government for the past two months, “investors would welcome some political stability.”
An improving outlook for a functioning German government boosted the euro, and the currency’s strength weighed on export-oriented stocks which stand to suffer from a strong exchange rate.
London equities also showed losses at the closing bell as investors worried about apparently stalled Brexit talks, and a rising pound took its toll on exporters.
US stocks finished mixed, with the Dow mustering a modest gain on positive buzz over the holiday shopping season. Early data on the key “Cyber Monday” sales promotions showed spending increased 16.9 compared with last year, according to Adobe.
“The retail position is in a much better position that it was a year ago,” said Nancy Tengler chief investment officer of Heartland Financial USA. “Consumers are in super good shape.”
But petroleum-linked shares declined on skepticism that a meeting of OPEC producers later this week would yield a significant agreement to curb output. Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron and oil service companies Halliburton and Transocean all fell.
KEY FIGURES AROUND 2140 GMT
New York – DOW: UP 0.1 percent at 23,580.78 (close)
New York – S&P 500: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 2,601.42 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.2 percent at 6,878.52 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,383.90 points (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.5 percent at 13,000.20 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 5,360.09 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,564.02 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 22,495.99 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.6 percent at 29,686.19 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.9 percent at 3,322.23 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1899 from $1.1925 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3321 from $1.3324
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.09 yen from 111.55 yen
Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN 2 cents at $63.84 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 84 cents at $58.11 per barrel
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