US stocks strike new highs, Europe sinks

·3-min read
If the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit new highs, last week's rally appears to have lost steam

US stocks hit new highs on Monday although elsewhere there was little steam left in last week's rally on easing concerns over strong inflation.

After another record close Friday on Wall Street, Asia struggled to maintain momentum, and Europe turned lower as the new trading week kicked off.

But both the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite pushed higher to strike new intra-day record highs as trading got underway.

However the blue-chip Dow slid lower, giving up 0.6 percent in late morning trade.

After the Federal Reserve last week watered down expectations of higher interest rates amid a spike in prices as economies exit lockdowns, attention is turning to key US jobs data at the end of the week for fresh perspective on the outlook. analyst Patrick O'Hare said the moves higher Monday are not significant and "are reflective of a market that is more reserved at the moment with its growth expectations".

The rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus has prompted some countries to tighten restrictions, with Sydney beginning a two-week lockdown over the weekend, raising concerns about just how steady the recovery will be.

"European markets have got off to a poor start to the week, as rising virus cases threaten to undermine sentiment as we come to the end of the month, the end of the quarter and the first half of 2021, with the energy sector, along with travel and leisure leading the losses," said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK.

Paris finished the day down 1.0 percent, London shed 0.9 percent and Frankfurt was off 0.3 percent.

Elsewhere Monday, oil prices reached fresh 2.5-year peaks on demand optimism, but then pulled back on virus concerns.

Traders are also awaiting the monthly meeting of OPEC and other top producers Thursday, which is expected to see them lift output to ease fears over falling supplies.

Brent North Sea crude hit $76.60 per barrel and New York's WTI $74.45 -- the highest levels since October 2018.

Bitcoin meanwhile jumped as investors shrugged off the UK financial watchdog's decision to ban cryptocurrency exchange Binance, as the digital money faces growing scrutiny.

On the corporate front, shares in Burberry tumbled as much as 10 percent after the British luxury fashion group said its chief executive Marco Gobbetti was stepping down at the end of the year to run Italian peer Salvatore Ferragamo.

"With the stock having only just recovered from its 2020 slump, investors will have the uncertainty of a new leader potentially shifting the strategy despite recent successes under Gobbetti," said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG trading group.

- Key figures at 1530 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent at 34,217.98 points

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.7 percent at 4,090.13

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.9 percent at 7,072.97 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 15,554.44 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.0 percent at 6,558.02 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.1 percent at 29,048.02 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.1 percent at 29,268.30 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 3,606.37 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1932 from $1.1938 at 2045 GMT on Friday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3884 from $1.3885

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.93 pence from 85.99 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.53 yen from 110.79 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.3 percent at $75.16 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.3 percent at $73.09 per barrel


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