LONDON — Global stock markets traded in narrow ranges Monday with positive sentiment weighed down by jitters over developments in Spain’s Catalonia region, tensions over North Korea and mixed U.S. jobs data.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was unchanged at 12,960 while France’s CAC-4 was steady at 5,360. London’s FTSE 100 was down at 0.2 percent at 7,505. U.S. stocks were poised for a solid opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent. Trading on Wall Street is expected to be muted with much of the country on a public holiday.
U.S. JOBS: The U.S. economy lost 33,000 jobs last month as hiring fell due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but the Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low. It was the first monthly employment loss in nearly seven years, but economists said weakness is likely to be short-lived as the country rebounds from the storms. Previous disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 inflicted short-term job losses that were followed by intensified hiring.
GEOPOLITICS: Ongoing geopolitical considerations are also working to keep sentiment in the markets in check. Investors are monitoring a raft of developments that have the potential to flare up and jolt markets. These include North Korea’s missile program and the political uncertainty surrounding the Spanish region of Catalonia following last week’s disputed independence referendum.
ANALYST TAKE: “Whether it’s fears of another North Korean missile, Catalan secession, a U.S.-Turkey visa spat, German coalition talks or Brexit/Westminster uncertainty, there’s plenty to keep markets amused while stateside trading is quiet on account of the Columbus day holiday,” said Mike van Dulken, head of Research at Accendo Markets.
ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent to 3,374.38 and Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 5,739.30. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for holidays. India’s Sensex advanced 0.1 percent to 31,846.67 and benchmarks in New Zealand and Southeast Asia rose. Hong Kong’s Hang lost 0.5 percent to 28,326.59.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 1 cent to $49.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was 31 cents to $55.31 on London.
CURRENCY: The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.1744 while the dollar was unchanged at 112.70 yen.