ASX set to open lower on RBA day; European stocks lose steam

By Sujata Rao and Krystof Chamonikolas

European shares ceded earlier gains in low-volume trading as some of the optimism around China’s property market stimulus ebbed.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge closed little-changed after rising as much as 0.8 per cent earlier. The consumer, travel and leisure and mining shares — sectors with exposure to China — advanced. US markets are shut for the Labor Day holiday and futures for the S&P 500 index were flat.

European stocks took centre stage with Wall Street closed for a holiday.
European stocks took centre stage with Wall Street closed for a holiday. Credit: Martin Leissl

With Wall Street shuttered, European trading volumes were below their thirty-day average by almost a third, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk rose to a new record high, having just become Europe’s most valuable firm. Carmaker Mercedes Benz Group AG added 1 per cent after unveiling a new, longer-range electric vehicle.

Expectations of crude supply cuts from the OPEC+ group kept oil futures near nine-month highs.

Markets got a boost from a US jobs report on Friday that showed a steadily cooling labor market, offering the Federal Reserve room to pause rate increases this month. Sentiment improved further after news of a weekend surge in home sales in two of China’s biggest cities, an early sign that government efforts to cushion a record housing slowdown is helping.

Shanghai and Beijing are seen benefiting the most from authorities’ announcement on Thursday that lowered down-payment thresholds across the nation. The Hang Seng index jumped more than 3 per cent Monday before paring gains, while a Bloomberg gauge of Chinese developers jumped as much as 8.7 per cent.

“We have been looking for more significant property rescue measures for some time to shore up sentiment and consumer confidence,” UBS Global Wealth Management chief investment officer Mark Haefele said. “This now appears to be materialising in a more convincing way.”

WTI crude oil was up about 0.5 per cent at $85.9 per barrel after surging last week on Russia’s announcement that it will extend export curbs. Saudi Arabia — which along with Moscow sets the tone at the OPEC+ alliance — is widely expected by traders to follow suit by pushing its voluntary curbs into October.


Some investors are convinced the Fed won’t hike rates further this cycle, bets that were reinforced after last week’s jobs data. At the same time, this year’s US stock market rally is strong enough to withstand another leg higher for bond yields, according to the latest Markets Live Pulse survey.

“The incoming data supports our view of a ‘softish’ landing for the US economy,” Haefele said.

While Treasury markets were closed, bond yields inched higher in the eurozone, with rate-setters seemingly divided on whether policy needs to be tightened further this month, given above-forecast inflation and sluggish growth. In a speech in London, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde avoided signalling whether policymakers will raise or hold interest rates next week.

Central banks in Australia and Canada are expected to keep interest rates unchanged this week.


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