European stocks jump after mixed Asian trade
AFP - 27 minutes ago
LONDON (AFP) - - European stock markets rose strongly in thin trade on Monday as Asian equities posted a mixed performance ahead of the New Year holiday break.
Shares in oil, gas and mining companies were among the top gainers after global crude and copper prices ticked higher. However volumes were thin, with many investors waiting on the sidelines until January after the year-end holiday season.
"With many not returning back to work until the new year, we could be in store for yet another quiet week," said CMC Markets dealer Jimmy Yates.
"One thing we can be certain about is that we will see low volumes ... which could provide a degree of volatility."
Traders in Europe were returning to their desks for the first time since last Wednesday, when markets shut for Christmas.
In midday European trade, London was up 2.25 percent, Frankfurt gained 2.13 percent and Paris rose 1.04 percent.
In Asian trade, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai recovered from early losses to finish barely changed on Monday.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index edged up 0.09 percent as shares in insurance firms soared on reports of a three-way merger to form the country's largest non-life insurer.
But dealers said there was no firm direction. The Tokyo market closes with a half-day session on Tuesday and reopens on January 5.
"Since we only have one more morning session tomorrow ... investors would not want to take positions before the long holidays," said Daisuke Uno of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.
Elsewhere Monday, Sydney ended up 1.1 percent, Hong Kong added one percent and Singapore was up 1.13 percent in late trade. Taipei closed down 0.20 percent.
Stock markets have tumbled this year as the global credit crisis saps liquidity and drags down the world economy. The International Monetary Fund's top economist warned last week of a second Great Depression to match that of the 1930s.
Some dealers doubted that global stock markets would find a clear direction until US president-elect Barack Obama takes office in January 20, with many hoping he can reinvigorate the ailing US economy.
In the more immediate future, dealers were waiting for Tuesday's release in the United States of consumer confidence data for December.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see our market rise if the US consumer confidence data aren't worse than expected," Macquarie Private Wealth senior private client adviser Marcus Droga told Dow Jones Newswires.
US stocks closed higher in thin post-Christmas trading on Friday after the US Federal Reserve threw a lifeline to the finance arm of ailing automaker General Motors.
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File photo shows traders at work in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. European stock markets rose strongly in thin trade on Monday as Asian equities posted a mixed performance ahead of the New Year holiday break.
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