In European Equity Markets stocks finished fractionally lower on Monday, with investors appearing to hold back from making major moves following last week’s U.S. airstrikes against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed civilians. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell less than 0.1 percent to close at 381.25. Shares in Barclays losed up 0.4 percent after opening lower after the U.K. lender said it reprimanded Chief Executive Jes Staley for his efforts to unmask a whistleblower. BHP Billiton PLC was up 2.2 percent after activist investor Elliot Advisors urged the mining heavyweight to undertake a plan to unlock shareholder value.
In Currency Markets the dollar edged lower on Monday as U.S. Treasury yields fell and traders consolidated Friday’s gains on low volume to start the holiday-shortened U.S. trading week. The dollar was little changed against the yen at 111.15 yen, retracing earlier gains. The euro was 0.1 percent higher against the dollar at $1.0602 after earlier falling to its lowest since March 9. Sterling added 0.41 percent to $1.2418. The index was last down 0.15 percent at 101.03, near its lows on the day. New York Fed President William Dudley said on Friday that the Fed might avoid raising interest rates at the same time that it begins shrinking its balance sheet, prompting only a “little pause” in the central bank’s rate hike plans.
In Commodities Markets oil rose toward $56 a barrel on Monday, supported by another shutdown at Libya’s largest oilfield over the weekend and geopolitical tensions following last week’s U.S. missile strike on Syria. Brent crude rose 65 cents to $55.89, not far from the one-month high of $56.08 reached on Friday. U.S. crude was up 73 cents at $52.97. Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,251.55 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for June delivery were down $4.20 at $1,253.10. Silver was down 0.8 percent at $17.81 an ounce, having hit its highest since Feb. 27 at $18.47 on Friday. Platinum was 1.4 percent lower at $938.20, while palladium was down 1.5 percent at $789.50.
In US Equity Markets stocks were set to gain the most in nearly two weeks late-Monday morning as higher oil prices lifted energy stocks, while investors braced for big banks to kick off the first-quarter earnings season later in the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.41 percent, at 20,740.3, the S&P 500 was up 0.37 percent, at 2,364.29 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.38 percent, at 5,900.44. Shares of Straight Path Communications rose nearly two-fold to $90 after AT&T offered a huge premium to buy the owner of wireless spectrum licenses. Swift Transportation was up 23 percent after agreeing to a merger with fellow trucking company Knight Transportation. Knight’s shares were up 13.5 percent.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell on Monday in advance of the government’s $24 billion debt auction, part of its $56 billion sale of notes and bonds this week. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was 2.364 percent, down 1 basis point from late on Friday, while the 30-year yield was 1 basis point lower at 2.988 percent. The U.S. Treasury Department will sell $20 billion in 10-year notes on Tuesday and $12 billion in 30-year bonds on Wednesday.