NEW YORK: Global stock markets were mixed on Monday ahead of key US economic data and a European Central Bank meeting, while crude prices gained as the new Saudi oil minister signaled he would defend oil prices.
Major US stock indices finished little changed ahead of key reports on consumer prices and retail sales for August later in the week.
Investors are in “wait and see” mode, said Art Hogan, the chief market strategist at National Securities.
“It´s a case of having a two-week winning streak and not much of a rethink on it,” he added.
Recent US data has been mixed, with August’s job growth lagging expectations, but services sector activity growing more quickly than expected, according to reports last week.
European bourses were also mixed, with London falling sharply as the pound rose on official data that showed the British economy grew by 0.3 percent in July, reducing the likelihood of a UK recession this year as Brexit looms large.
“While parliament seems to be falling apart, the economy is holding up reasonably well,” noted Paul Dales, chief UK economist at research consultancy Capital Economics.
“July´s surprisingly strong rise in GDP suggests that it has not fallen into a recession.”
British MPs voted to demand Prime Minister Boris Johnson release confidential documents relating to Britain´s EU exit, during a final day of defiance before he suspends their session until just weeks before Brexit.
Elsewhere, the euro wavered as dealers mulled speculation that the European Central Bank could decide this week to loosen monetary policy.
Oil prices advanced as newly-installed energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said that oil production cuts would benefit all exporting nations, in an indication he will support further reductions to address an oversupplied market and sagging prices.
In his first comments since being appointed by his father King Salman on Sunday, the minister signaled no major change in approach in Saudi Arabia, the de-facto OPEC leader which pumps about a third of the cartel´s oil.
“The pillars of our oil policy are pre-determined and will not change,” he told Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya.
The appointment of Prince Abdulaziz, half-brother to de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, marks the first time a royal family member has been put in charge of the all-important energy ministry.
He replaces veteran official Khalid al-Falih as the world´s top crude exporter accelerates preparations for a much-anticipated stock listing of state-owned oil giant Aramco, expected to be the world´s biggest.
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