European Shares Pause Ahead of Central Bank Speeches

By Marina Force and Ese Erheriene Features Dow Jones Newswires

European stocks started the week mixed after closing in the red Friday as investors appeared to be increasingly concerned over the U.S. tax-overhaul plan.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 was modestly lower shortly after European markets opened, led by losses in banking and financial services.

Futures pointed to a small opening gain for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after both indexes posted drops last week. In Asia, markets were broadly down.

In currencies, the British pound dropped Monday on weekend news that as many as 40 Conservative MPs have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence to Prime Minister Theresa May, almost enough to trigger a leadership challenge.

Sterling declined as much as 0.5% against the U.S. dollar in Asian trading hours. The pound could face further pressure this week, with several Bank of England members set to speak and data on U.K. inflation and retail sales due.

Talks on the Republican tax proposals will continue to be in focus, after concerns over their prospects for passage interrupted a remarkable stretch of gains for stocks last week and "triggered some profit-taking activities," noted Margaret Yang at CMC Markets.

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Among this week's highlights are speeches by central bank leaders, with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen both set to speak Tuesday.

In the U.S. investors will be keeping a close eye on the October Consumer Price Index, due Wednesday, a proxy for inflation. While the Federal Reserve is widely expected to increase rates in December, a soft inflation reading could fuel the debate around the flattening of the U.S. yield curve.

In the bond market, prices climbed, pushing down yields. The 10-year Treasury yield moved slightly lower Monday to trade at 2.380% according to Tradeweb, compared with Friday's close of 2.397%. The 10-year German government bond yield was also off at 0.395%, from 0.407%.

Earlier in Asia, most major stock indexes logged declines, with Japanese stocks again underperforming after their gains of the past two months.

After logging its biggest drop percentage-wise in two months on Friday, the Nikkei Stock Average fell a further 1.3%. Monday's decline in Japan came despite a pullback in the yen.

Earnings, which had been supporting the market, also clouded sentiment with real-estate developer Mitsui Fudosan and fiber maker Toray both off about 4%.

In South Korea, the Kospi index was down 0.5%, while Hong Kong's benchmark index got a boost from technology stocks. The Hang Seng Index was up 0.4% as it looked to set another 10-year closing high. E-gaming services provider Razer surged as much as 41% in its market debut Monday; it was recently up 18%.

Write to Ese Erheriene at ese.erheriene@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 13, 2017 04:11 ET (09:11 GMT)