Focus is on Washington, where China and the US put pen to paper on their 'phase one' trade deal

London (AFP) - World stock markets were a mixed bag on Monday as investors turned their attention to the planned signing of a China-US trade pact, with Wall Street firmer and European markets mostly retrenching.

London bucked the sluggish European trend thanks to a weaker pound, which boosts share prices of multinationals that earn in dollars.

Sterling sagged as Bank of England policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe hinted at a potential vote in favour of a January cut to the central bank’s main interest rate.

Stoking rate-cut speculation, official data showed the UK economy shrank 0.3 percent in November, as Brexit and political uncertainty contributed to slashing manufacturing output.

But despite some adjustments to the downside, underlying sentiment was “positive as traders are looking ahead to the signing of the first phase of the US-China trade deal on Wednesday,” CMC Markets analyst David Madden said.

While some of the optimism that characterised the end of 2019 is making a cautious return to trading floors, dealers were left a little disappointed by a below-par jobs report out of Washington on Friday which pushed the main US indices into the red.

But on Monday, Wall Street rebounded in morning business as analysts agreed that the Federal Reserve will likely maintain interest rates at low levels for some time to come, with some tipping the next move could be another cut.

- Pen to paper -

Focus this week is on Washington, where China and the United States will finally put pen to paper on their much-vaunted “phase one” trade deal, which has lowered tensions between the economic superpowers and boosted hopes for the global economy.

While no major announcements are expected at the signing, investors will be looking for signs of progress on the next part of negotiations for a wider agreement.

“Provided the deal inks a commitment from China to increase agricultural products and outlines a dependable enforcement mechanism, the market will go merrily along the way,” said AxiTrader’s Stephen Innes.

“Traders are probably not too concerned about a currency pact as China should hold the line on any weakness in the yuan as we roll forward to negotiating phase two.”

- Key figures at 1640 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,617.60 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 13,451.52 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 6,036.14 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,779.68

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 28,875.60

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.1 percent at 28,954.94 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 3,115.57 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a public holiday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2983 from $1.3064 at 2200 GMT Friday

Euro/pound: UP at 85.78 pence from 85.13 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1138 from $1.1121

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.89 yen from 109.45 yen

Brent Crude: DOWN 1.1 percent at $64.28 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.3 percent at $58.30