Global Markets on Track for Quarterly Gains

Global stocks were on track for their fourth straight quarter of gains on Monday, aided by loose monetary policies from major central banks, although concerns about geopolitical developments and global economic health underpinned the safe-haven yen.

The Bank of International Settlements - a consortium of the world's top central banks - warned on Sunday that financial markets were increasingly out of sync with shaky global growth prospects.

It said several early warning indicators signaled that vulnerabilities were building up in the financial system of several countries.

"In our experience the BIS does tend to have good calls on these issues, but timing the unwinding of these imbalances can take many quarters, even years," said Chris Turner, head of currency strategy at ING.

Highlighting some of those worries, Dubai's bourse fell over 5 percent as builder Arabtec tumbled while other property-related stocks suffered. Portuguese bond yields also rose sharply on concerns about the health of Portugal's largest listed bank.

But with the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan pumping in billions every month, there was little chance that investors would give up their hunt for yield, just yet.

MSCI's world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 countries, rose 0.1 percent. It has risen over 4 percent this quarter, aided by the prospect that monetary policy in the major economies will remain accommodative for longer.

European stocks steadied after a sharp sell off last week. They were flat, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares at 1,371.68 points.

Investors took the euro zone inflation data for June in their stride. The data showed inflation stuck at 0.5 percent, its ninth consecutive month in the European Central Bank's "danger zone" below 1 percent.

That kept the threat of deflation in the euro zone at bay for now. But with inflation nowhere near the ECB's target of just under 2 percent, expectations are the central bank will keep policy loose for longer.


French bank BNP Paribas will be in focus after sources said the U.S. Justice Department is expected to announce on Monday a settlement involving a record fine of nearly $9 billion over alleged U.S. sanctions violations.

The huge fine though could see the euro come under pressure, as the French bank lines up dollars to pay the amount, some currency traders said.

Investors are hoping to see evidence of an economic rebound in the United States in this week's busy calendar of data that includes the June non-farm payrolls report on Thursday, a day earlier than usual due to the July 4 holiday.

Economists polled by Reuters expect 213,000 jobs to have been added in June, for the fifth straight month of gains above 200,000, a run unmatched since the period from September 1999 to January 2000. A weaker-than-expected payrolls report could see the U.S. dollar suffer more.

The yen hit a five-week high against the dollar of 101.235 yen per dollar.

Globally, purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) for manufacturing are out on Tuesday and services on Thursday. They are expected to show a picture of growth or at least stability despite geopolitical tensions around Ukraine and Iraq.

In commodity markets, gold spot gold was slightly lower at $1,313 an ounce by 1045 GMT, having hit a two-month high of $1,325.90 last week.

"The geopolitical factor is one that it's not easy to predict and that could keep gold above $1,300 just on its own," said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar.

Brent crude oil lost 65 cents to 112.65 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures fell 40 cents to $105.34. Oil prices have come off recent highs as fighting in Iraq stayed away from the country's south, where most of its oil is produced.