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European markets becalmed as investors wait for US-China trade news

By Hugh Wilson

Major European indices enjoy a generally quiet day as markets absorb mixed economic data and await trade deal announcement

Mixed economic data left markets in limbo for most of the day, with only minor movements across a range of major European and global indices. Better-than-expected news on German industrial output was balanced by an IMF report predicting slower European growth.

The FTSE 100 finished on 7,397, 0.12 per cent up on the day. Pan European Euro Stoxx 600 drifted in much the same way, closing 0.21 per cent up.

In the US, major markets opened higher, before sliding slightly. The S&P 500 was little changed by the start of afternoon trading, up six points or 0.03 per cent. That was from a high base, however. The S&P has surged 4 per cent in the last month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also seeing marginal gains.

However, US indices started to slide later in the day after the news that any US-China trade deal may be delayed until December.

The relative inactivity early on may be a sign that traders were waiting for more news on the long-awaited “phase one” trade deal between the US and China before making moves. There was little forthcoming from negotiators through the morning, leaving markets twiddling metaphorical thumbs.

In the UK, traders also waited on the Bank of England’s monetary policy report, due on Thursday. With the general election also taking momentum from markets, the result was a slight dip in the value of the pound, down 0.12 per cent against the euro, at €1.1618, and also down marginally against the dollar.

Bitcoin held up well early, hovering around the $9340 figure for most of the day, which is up around 0.18 per cent, but slid slightly to around $9305 later in the day. Gold was the big winner among commodities, up 5.1 per cent at one point during afternoon trading.

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