Some investors say German economic weakness may have a silver lining

New York (AFP) - European stocks pushed higher Monday on expectations that gloomy German economic data boosts the odds for aggressive action from the European Central Bank, while US stocks retreated ahead of key trade talks.

Official German data showed a drop in industrial orders in August, adding to a picture of declining activity at vital manufacturing firms.

Yet bourses in Europe advanced, with Frankfurt, Paris and London all advancing.

“We are in a… scenario where bad news is good news,” ThinkMarkets analyst Naeem Aslam told AFP.

“Any weakness in the economic numbers, which we experienced today, confirms that the European Central Bank is going to remain accommodative and this helps investors to favor riskier assets” such as stocks.

Most markets also rose in Asia after a mixed US jobs report on Friday eased worries about a recession in the world’s top economy – and reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will press on with interest rate cuts.

However, there was some nervousness after reports China cut back on the number of areas it is willing to discuss at this week’s top-level trade talks in Washington, rekindling concerns about the chances of any agreement between the two.

Wall Street stocks finished lower following a choppy session as the market fluctuated with shifting signals on the direction of US-China trade talks.

Beijing’s top trade envoy Liu He is due to meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin starting Thursday, the White House said in a statement.

Briefing.com attributed a mid-afternoon surge and subsequent swoon in stocks to news reports that first talked up progress only to subsequently emphasize the gap between the two sides.

“The market is still in a wait-and-see period for more clarity with respect to US-China trade talks,” said Adam Sarhan of 50 Park Investments.

“People are hoping for a swift resolution but realistically they know that most likely they will kick the can down the road because they are still too far apart on several fundamental issues.”

Besides trade, investors await key data on consumer prices, as well as minutes from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting. The market is also beginning to think about third-quarter earnings season, which gets underway this week and gets going in earnest next week.

- Key figures around 2040 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 26,478.02 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.5 percent at 2,938.79 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,956.29 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,197.88 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 5,521.61 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 12,097.43 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 3,471.24 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 21,375.25 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: Closed for a public holiday

Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a public holiday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0970 from $1.0979 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2297 from $1.2331

Dollar/yen: UP at 107.29 yen from 106.94 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at $58.35 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $52.75 per barrel

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