European Shares Gain on Stronger Commodities

By Riva Gold and Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

European stocks started the week higher as a climb in commodities prices lifted shares of miners and energy companies.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 inched up 0.2% in the early minutes of trading, with Tullow Oil PLC, Glencore PLC and Statoil ASA among the best performers.

Brent crude oil rose 2% to $51.86 a barrel after top energy officials in Saudi Arabia and Russia anticipated a nine-month extension to the current production-cut deal led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a joint statement Monday, "The ministers expressed optimism that a wider circle of countries will see the benefit of the stabilization of oil markets and will join the efforts."

An update on China's "One Belt One Road" program also helped lift base metals prices, with copper futures climbing 0.6% to $5,601 a ton. Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged over $100 billion in new financing as part of the mega-infrastructure project.

Investors largely brushed off news that over the weekend that North Korea tested a new type of missile while a global cyberattack hit computers in businesses, government agencies and hospitals.

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Yields on 10-year Treasurys were little changed at 2.339% from 2.331% Friday, while bund yields edged up just a touch to 0.402% from 0.393%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Earlier, Chinese stocks and bonds rose amid signs Beijing will take a softer approach to reducing leverage and preventing risks in the debt-laden financial system.

China's official Xinhua News Agency ran an unexpected editorial Sunday night that urged financial regulators to avoid letting the recent anti-risk campaign actually create more risk. Meanwhile, Premier Li Keqiang stressed during a Sunday cabinet meeting the importance of striking a balance between maintaining financial stability, gradual deleveraging and stabilizing economic growth.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.2% while its Shenzhen counterpart added 0.4%, despite data showing China's economic activity weakened more than expected last month. Value-added industrial output, a rough proxy for growth, rose by 6.5% in April from a year earlier, well below economists' forecasts.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.7% amid gains in companies based in mainland China and Friday's release of better-than-expected first-quarter economic growth. Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. continued to help the index hit a series of 22-month highs.

Japan's Nikkei edged down 0.1% while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2%, on track for another record high.

Shen Hong, Jenny W. Hsu and Ian Talley contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com and Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 15, 2017 03:46 ET (07:46 GMT)