European stock markets in positive gear
Europe's main stock markets rose on Monday, with London the best performer thanks to solid share-price gains for the resources sector.
HSBC was also a big riser, gaining three percent at 8.5 euros in late morning trade after the British banking giant announced a share buyback plan alongside a rise in first-half profits.
Traders reacted also to official figures showing eurozone inflation steadied at 1.3 percent in July, well below the ECB's 2.0-percent target as Europe's recovery continued.
The inflation figure for the 19-country single currency area, released by the Eurostat statistics agency, was the same as June's and matched estimates given for July by analysts surveyed for data company Factset.
"Today marks the beginning of a massive week for the markets, representing a crossroads of big economic and corporate data," noted Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG trading group.
"While last week saw 20 percent of the S&P 500 firms reporting, this week sees economic releases more than compensate for any drop-off in earnings data.
"In an earnings season that has been dominated by the outperformance of US firms, all eyes will be on the world’s biggest company on Tuesday, to see if Apple can push the Dow and Nasdaq into yet another new record high," Mahony added.
On Monday meanwhile, oil prices rallied to two-month highs, with New York futures inching past $50 a barrel and the benchmark Brent contract reaching almost $53.
Analysts said crude was being pushed higher by a mix of lower Saudi exports, a deep fall to US crude stockpiles, a weaker dollar and unrest in OPEC member Venezuela.
"A whole series of supportive news drove Brent up by nearly 10 percent within a week to nearly $53 per barrel" on Monday, said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
Support for oil was felt across the resources sector, with mining and utility companies enjoying solid share price gains Monday, also on back of well-received earnings updates.
In London, Seven Trent water group led the FTSE 100, up 3.4 percent while in Frankfurt, energy giant RWE won 1.51 percent.
In Asian stocks trading, Tokyo closed lower as the yen hardened against the dollar.
The yen's rise came as the dollar was dragged down by increasing US policy uncertainty after another failed attempt at healthcare reform.
The currency also took a hit from US growth data Friday which cast further doubt on any early interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve.
Renewed tensions following North Korea's latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile has also aided the yen, considered a safe bet in times of turmoil.
"There remains real appetite to sell the dollar... as it's becoming evident to all the greenback has problems, and the can of worms is barely open," said Stephen Innes, who heads Asia-Pacific trading at Oanda.
Elsewhere Monday, official data showed China's manufacturing activity had faltered in June, as experts warn of a slowdown in the world's second largest economy.
Key figures around 12:00 CET
- London - FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,412.30 points
- Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 12,183.60
- Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 5,134.99
- EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,473.56
- Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 19,925.18 (close)
- Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.3 percent at 27,323.99 (close)
- Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,273.03 (close)
- New York - Dow: UP 0.15 percent at 21,830.31 (close)
- Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1734 from $1.1755
- Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3103 from $1.3139
- Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.63 yen from 110.71 yen
- Oil - Brent North Sea: UP nine cents at $52.61 per barrel
- Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP four cents at $49.75