European stock markets were lower Monday following a mixed performance across Asia as investors wind down and take profits at the end of year. In mid-afternoon, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.6 percent compared with the close on Friday. In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 shed 0.7 percent and the Paris CAC 40 lost 0.5 percent.
On the other side of the Atlantic, New York’s the Dow — which ended last week on a fresh record high — shed nearly 0.4 percent. Earlier in Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei stocks index closed down 0.8 percent as investors cashed in ahead of the New Year holidays, but the final day of trading still saw the benchmark end up 18.2 percent from a year earlier.
OANDA analyst Edward Moya described trading as “light” but said that “expectations remain in place for US stocks to continue march higher” at the start of 2020. The US Federal Reserve “has clearly signaled they will not be tightening anytime soon, the US consumer continues to impress, and as fears of both a complete collapse with global trade talks and Brexit have abated,” he said.
Analysts attribute the successive series of US records to upbeat investor sentiment based on a lower risk of recession in the immediate future, a mellowing of US-China trade tensions, and accommodative monetary policy. In Asia, investors will also be watching for key policy announcements in the region later this week. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to give his New Year’s speech on Wednesday, with all eyes on nuclear-armed Pyongyang’s threat of a “new way” after its end-of-year deadline for sanctions relief from the US, analysts said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is also scheduled to give a New Year’s address.
Elsewhere, oil prices climbed on continued demand, largely unmoved by comments from OPEC last week that the cartel would discuss ending production curbs next year.
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