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European stocks start week with gains

European stocks start week with gainsLONDON: Europe’s main stock markets rose on Monday as investors followed developments over Greece, the United States and China.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index added 0.22 percent to stand at 6,790.10 points approaching midday in the capital.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 gained 0.86 percent to 11,773.42 points and the CAC 40 in Paris won 0.79 percent to 5,164.87 compared with Friday’s close.

The euro steadied against the dollar after earlier weakness caused by the expectations of a US interest rate rise by the end of the year.

Focus remained firmly on Greece, where banks reopened Monday after a three-week shutdown imposed to prevent a run on ATMs from crashing the financial system.

“For the first time in over a month we’ve managed to enjoy a weekend uncluttered by European, political and fiscal fireworks,” said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG trading group.

Greece began making a 4.2 billion euro ($ 4.6 billion) payment due to the European Central Bank on Monday as well as outstanding sums owed to the International Monetary Fund, a ministerial source said.

Asian stocks were mixed Monday, with Sydney and Shanghai rising as concerns eased over Greece and China’s recent market rout.

The European single currency stood at $ 1.0831 compared with $ 1.0830 late on Friday in New York.

Gold slumped to the lowest point in nearly five and a half years, weighed down by reports of massive selling in China, dealers said.

The precious metal tumbled to $ 1,072.35 in Asian deals, striking the lowest point since February 11, 2010, and breaching the key psychological barrier of $ 1,100.

Gold had already slid Friday on the back of the strong dollar, which soared last week after US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen reaffirmed expectations of an interest rate hike by the end of the year.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies. That tends to dent demand and, in turn, pull prices lower.

Analysts said investors are now beginning to refocus on macroeconomic data after the past few months were dominated by the Greek debt crisis and a more than 30 percent plunge in Chinese stocks.

“With the relative calm that has engulfed Europe, traders are feeling a little more comfortable and focusing on equities and the deluge of corporate data hitting them in this latest reporting season,” McCaig said.

“With gold hitting five-year lows and breaking major support levels, it is not too much of a surprise to see the FTSE fallers list dominated by the mining sector,” he added.

Embattled banks were in focus with a report saying Barclays could shed 30,000 jobs, while Standard Chartered unveiled a streamlined management team.

Barclays’ share price rose 0.32 percent to 281 pence and Standard Chartered advanced by 1.23 percent in value to 1,029.50 pence.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

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