Global stocks edge higher as markets await US economic data

TOKYO – Global stocks mostly rose Monday, despite subdued growth figures for Japan, as investors looked ahead to U.S. economic data this week as well as the minutes to the Federal Reserve’s last meeting.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX was up 0.5 per cent to 10,764 while the CAC 40 of France climbed 0.1 per cent to 4,506. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.2 per cent to 6,932. Much business in Europe was closed for the Assumption holiday, though market trading remained open. Wall Street appeared poised for gains, with Dow and S&P futures both up 0.2 per cent.

JAPAN STAGNATES: Japan’s economy grew at a lower-than-forecast 0.2 per cent pace in the April-June quarter, as private demand and exports remained weak. On a quarterly basis, growth for the world’s third-largest economy was flat, adding to pressure on the Bank of Japan to take further action to stimulate slack corporate and consumer spending.

US IN FOCUS: Investors will look ahead to U.S. reports due for inflation, manufacturing and housing. The minutes to the Fed’s last meeting will also be scrutinized for hints about a possible interest rate increase next month. The “minutes are likely to highlight that while the door was left open for a September rate move, this was anything but a commitment,” said Marc Ostwald, analyst at ADM Investor Services.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged 0.3 per cent lower Monday to 16,869.56 after the government reported weaker-than-expected economic data. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.7 per cent to 22,932.51 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 added 0.2 per cent to 5,540.00. The Shanghai Composite index advanced 2.4 per cent to 3,125.20 and markets in Southeast Asia were mixed. Markets in South Korea and India were closed for holidays.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 14 cents to $44.63 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1 on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 10 cents to $47.07 a barrel, after gaining 93 cents on Friday.

CURRENCIES: In currency markets, the dollar weakened to 101.09 yen from 101.29 yen on Friday. The euro rose to $1.1171 from $1.1165.