World Economy

Europe, Asia Stocks Slump

The dollar strengthened against most major currencies after Yellen’s speech
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

European stocks kicked off the week in negative territory, with rising expectations the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this year punching the air out of the recent rally.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.38%  lost 0.6% to 341.80, pulling back after a 1.1% climb last week, news outlets reported.

The pan-European benchmark settled 0.5% higher on Friday, as Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen at a closely watched speech at Jackson Hole, Wyo. said the US economy is improving, seen as a sign of confidence in economic growth worldwide. The central bank boss also hinted a rate increase is on the cards in coming months, which weighed on US markets on Friday and dragged stocks in most of Asia and Europe lower on Monday.

The dollar strengthened against most major currencies after the Yellen’s speech and continued its march higher on Monday.

Shares of Alstom SA gained 2.3% after the French infrastructure company late Friday said it signed a €1.8 billion ($2.01 billion) deal to design and build 28 new high-speed trains for US rail operator Amtrak.

Roche Holding AG opened higher after the Swiss drugmaker said it had received an “emergency use authorization” from the US Food and Drug Administration for its Zika test. Shares, however, erased gains and traded 0.2% lower in morning action.

Germany’s DAX 30 index slid 1.2% to 10,470.24, while France’s CAC 40 index gave up 1.1% to 4,395.145.

UK markets were closed for a local bank holiday.

In Asia

Japanese stocks were on track for their best gain in more than a month, with exporters receiving a boost from a weaker yen.

The broad Topix benchmark was up 2.1% for its biggest one-day advance since July 12, while the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.2%. The gains came as the yen weakened 0.3% on Monday to ¥‎102.12 per dollar, while Friday’s retreat of 1.3% was the largest drop since July 11.

Stocks on both sides of the Atlantic endured a volatile session on Friday, but the dollar was the still the main beneficiary, rising 0.8% versus a basket of global peers. On Monday the dollar index was flat at 95.523.

The overall move in the greenback was still enough to see most major Asian currencies weaken on Monday, while gold, which is sensitive to interest rate expectations and tends to move inversely to the dollar, is down 0.3% Monday at $1,316.96 an ounce and remains on track for a seventh-straight day of decline, the longest losing streak since May.

In other regional stock markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.4%, while on the mainland China’s Shanghai Composite was 0.1% lower and the tech-focused Shenzhen Composite was up 0.3%.

The People’s Bank of China today fixed the midpoint around which the renminbi is allowed to trade weaker by 0.55% to Rmb6.6856 per dollar, the weakest level in a month, in response to the dollar-induced moves across currency markets on Friday.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.1%, its biggest fall since the start of August as the domestic reporting season comes to a close.

In Arab States

Persian Gulf Arab states' stocks moved little in early, thin trade on Monday as a fresh slide in oil prices and a retreat in Asian share markets kept buyers away.

Dubai’s index was flat as stocks mainly traded by local investors were the top movers. Insurer Takaful Emarat Insurance gained 3.4% but Ajman Bank fell 1.3%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.3% with gainers outnumbering losers 12 to three. Union National Bank added 1.4% and First Gulf Bank rose 0.4%.

Declines in some large-cap shares weighed on Qatar’s main index, which slipped 0.1%. Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan lost 0.1% and real estate developer Ezdan Holding dropped 0.4%.

Saudi Arabia’s equities index moved little. Saudi International Petrochemical (Sipchem) dropped 1.8% but some banking shares, which have been under pressure over the last several weeks because of the slump in the construction sector, edged up with Samba Financial adding 0.6%.