European stocks weighed down by euro as US assesses Harvey

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

European stock markets fell modestly Monday as the euro's ascent following a meeting of global bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming stoked concerns over the economic recovery across the 19-country eurozone while investors on Wall Street awaited damage assessments from Tropical Storm Harvey, which battered Texas' refinery-rich Gulf Coast and sent gasoline futures spiking.

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KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France's CAC 40 was down 0.2 percent to 5,099 while Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent to 12,149. British markets were closed for a public holiday. Wall Street was poised for a steady opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures unchanged.

STORMY WEATHER: Incessant rain from Harvey, which slammed ashore as a strong hurricane late last week, has submerged much of Houston and shut down Texas's oil and gas industry. It's unclear how bad the damage is to facilities along the state's Gulf Coast but preliminary signs indicate widespread losses, which will have implications for the U.S. economy and oil and gas prices. Gasoline futures trimmed earlier gains but were still at their highest level this year, up 4.4 percent to $1.74 a gallon, while crude futures were mixed. S&P Global analysts said about 2.2 million barrels per day of refining capacity was down or being brought down by Sunday.

NO SURPRISES: The gatherings of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was last week's big economic event but investors found no surprises in speeches by the Federal Reserve's Janet Yellen and the European Central Bank's Mario Draghi. There was nothing to change investors' expectations that the Fed will continue to gradually raise interest rates and prepare to trim its $4.5 billion balance sheet. Investors were now looking ahead to economic data releases due later this week, including China's purchasing managers' index on Thursday and U.S jobs data on Friday.

CURRENCIES: The euro was at $1.1936, off earlier highs that took the currency to its strongest level in more than two and a half years. The currency continued to rise after jumping Friday during Draghi's speech. He didn't address the financial health of the eurozone, but investors took that as a sign of confidence in the continent's economy. A stronger euro makes European exports more costly for foreign buyers. The dollar fell to 109.19 Japanese yen from 109.36 yen on Friday.

MARKET VIEW: "All of this is bad news for European stocks, particularly the export-heavy DAX, and we could see further moderation for European stocks at the start of this week," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index.

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ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended practically unchanged at 19,449.90 and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.4 percent to 2,370.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose less than 0.1 percent to 27,863.29 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China added 0.9 percent to 3,362.65. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.6 percent to 5,709.90. Taiwan's benchmark rose and indexes in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 42 cents to $47.45 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 30 cents to $52.71 per barrel.