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Markets

European stocks firmer, Asia mixed

  • Hong Kong down one percent as Shanghai dipped 0.2 percent.
Published August 31, 2020
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PARIS: European stock markets were mostly firmer in quiet trade Monday after the Federal Reserve signalled it would keep interest rates at unprecedented lows for as long as it takes to get through the coronavirus crisis.

London was closed for a public holiday, leaving Paris and Frankfurt to set the tone with gains of 0.8 and 0.6 percent respectively by late morning.

"Cheap central bank money is going to continue to support the stock markets," said independent analyst Timo Emden in Frankfurt.

The Fed's pledge of trillions of dollars in support has been key to stock market gains since the massive virus-induced sell-off in March.

US Fed chief Jerome Powell on Thursday went even further, saying the US central bank would focus on growth and jobs from now on rather than on inflation, meaning that interest rates and controlling inflation would be a secondary consideration.

"Monetary policy will be highly stimulative for a long, long time. Indeed, (it is) music to the stock market's ears," said Stephen Innes at AxiCorp.

Innes said that during the financial crisis, the US began cutting interest rates in mid-2007 and did not lift them until more than eight years later, and it could take just as long to see them hiked again.

Asian shares were mostly easier on Monday, with Hong Kong down one percent as Shanghai dipped 0.2 percent, both having jumped more than one percent earlier.

Tokyo rose more than one percent, shrugging off concerns over who would succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after news that US investment legend Warren Buffett had bought huge holdings in top Japanese companies.

Marubeni Corp and Sumitomo Corp each put on more than nine percent, Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsui & Co gained more than seven percent and Itochu Corp also rallied.

Positive service sector data in China helped offset slower manufacturing figures and offered reassurance the world's number two economy is emerging strongly from the coronavirus crisis.

   - Key figures around 1030 GMT - 

London - FTSE 100 closed for public holiday

Frankfurt - DAX 30 UP 0.6 percent at 13,111.08 points

Paris - CAC 40 UP 0.8 percent at 5,043.96 points

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 23,139.76 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.0 percent at 25,177.05 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,395.68 (close)

New York - Dow: UP 0.6 percent at 28,653.87 points (close Friday)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1914 from $1.1903 at 2100 GMT on Friday

Dollar/yen: UP at 105.91 yen from 105.34 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3314 from $1.3349

Euro/pound: UP at 89.47 pence from 89.13 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.3 percent at $43.46

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.4 percent at $46.46 per barrel

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