Glad you asked. Here’s what’s shaking:
Global stocks were steady on Monday as major Asian markets were closed for the Lunar New Year and other national holidays.
In Europe, investors were relieved that European Union leaders on Friday approved a new 7-year budget. Negotiations on the €1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) spending plan were tough and threatened to be delayed by a year, renewing uncertainty over the group’s ability to come together to solve its financial problems. But a compromise was eventually found on the second day of their second summit on the matter.
By midday in Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.1 percent to 7,660.77 while France’s CAC-40 added 0.5 percent to 3,665.23.
Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent to 6,281.99 despite a survey showing business confidence hit a 21-year low. The BDO Optimism Index fell in January to the lowest level since it began and suggested the economy is contracting. Despite the pessimism, however, the survey suggested things would get better – hiring intentions for the next half-year rose.
Wall Street was expected to rise at the opening bell. Dow Jones industrial futures were up nearly 0.3 percent to 13,963 while the broader S&P 500 futures were 0.2 percent higher at 1,515.30. Markets there were supported by better U.S. trade figures, which led to an upward revision to the fourth quarter economic growth figures.
In Asia, markets were closed in Hong Kong, mainland China, Seoul, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam for the Lunar New Year holiday, while Japanese markets were shut for a national holiday.
The price of oil dipped slightly toward $95 a barrel on Monday as investors cut back on speculative positions and most Asian markets were closed for a holiday.
By early afternoon in Europe, the benchmark oil contract for March delivery was down 30 cents to $95.42 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 11 cents on Friday.
Trading was expected to be light for much of the week with several Asian markets shut for the Lunar New Year.
Prices were kept from falling further by comments Sunday from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said the Islamic Republic would not yield to pressure from Western powers, including sanctions blocking much of the country’s oil exports, to halt its nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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