Stock markets were subdued Monday after trade talks between China and the U.S. wrapped up with officials claiming progress. The price of oil kept rose to its highest level this year on the back of improved U.S. economic data.
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1% to 7,451, while the DAX in Germany declined 0.3% to 11,968. The CAC 40 in France edged up 0.1% to 5,480. Wall Street looked set for a soft open, with the future contract for the Dow down 0.3% at 26,317 while that for the S&P 500 edged 0.1% lower to 2,892.
It was the start to yet another week of uncertainty over Britain's planned split from the European Union.
Cross-party talks to jumpstart plans for the so-called Brexit were due to resume before Friday's deadline for leaving the EU. The opposition Labour Party is hopeful the country's political impasse can be resolved, its business minister Rebecca Long-Bailey said.
In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.2% to 21,761.65 and the Shanghai Composite index clawed back losses to edge 0.1% lower, ending at 3,244.81. South Korea's Kospi was nearly unchanged at 2,210.60, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.4% to 30,049.94. India's Sensex shed 0.3% to 38,754.38.
China's official news agency said Sunday that trade talks with the U.S. in Washington last week "achieved new progress." It said remaining issues will be handled through "various effective means" but did not elaborate on where or when further discussions will happen. It said three-day talks that ended Friday dealt with issues including technology transfer, intellectual property rights protection, non-tariff measures, agriculture and enforcement.
Beijing and Washington are working to end a standoff over Beijing's industrial and technology policies that has shaken financial markets and darkened the world economic outlook.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday that "significant work remains" and the two sides would be in continuous contact.
The talks come against the backdrop of a slowing global economy, though Wall Street last week logged its longest winning streak in a year and a half. A strong rebound in hiring eased worries that the U.S. economy is slowing too sharply, helping to keep traders in a buying mood.
Investors will next look to company earnings reports, which start to be published in the U.S. next week.
ENERGY: Strong U.S. jobs data boosted expectations for oil demand, pushing benchmarks to their highest level this year. U.S. crude oil picked up 35 cents to $63.43 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 1.6% to settle at $63.08 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 39 cents to $70.73 per barrel. It added 1.4% to close at $70.34 on Friday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 111.47 Japanese yen from 111.73 yen while the euro rose to $1.1242 from $1.1217. The British pound advanced to $1.3054 from $1.3041 on Friday.