U.S. STOCK MARKETS
Stocks pulled back Monday as weak German economic data and discord over plans for a European banking union brought out sellers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 20.55 points, or 0.2%, to 13558.92.
Copper prices have outperformed the overall metals market as traders have closed short selling in expectation of government intervention to boost growth, but the metal may still be "slightly overvalued," according to a Monday report by Barclays.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell for a third-straight session, giving up 3.26 points, or 0.2%, to 1456.89. The losing streak was the index's longest since a four session slump that ended Aug. 2. Technology shares slumped while defensive sectors such as utilities and consumer staples rose.
Apple dropped 1.3% as opening-weekend iPhone 5 sales disappointed some analysts. Hewlett-Packard dropped 2.2% and Intel fell 1.4%, leading the Dow lower.
The technology-oriented Nasdaq Composite retreated 19.18 points, or 0.6%, to 3160.78. Politicians' conflicting comments on the integration of Europe's banking system weighed on global markets.
French President Francois Hollande said the banking union should be set up "the earlier, the better." German Chancellor Angela Merkel declined to set a date and argued the region ought to establish the banking union in a step-by-step manner.
In the U.S., the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas's manufacturing index for September rose from a month earlier. But the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's National Activity Index, a barometer of the economy, fell to its lowest level in more than a year.
EUROPEAN STOCK MARKETS
Europe's main stock markets slumped on Monday in a poor start to the week as investors reacted to news of sliding business confidence in eurozone economic engine Germany, dealers said.
London's FTSE 100 index of top companies ended the day off 0.24 percent at 5,838.84 points, while in Frankfurt, the Dax 30 gave up 0.54 percent to finish at 7,413.16 points.
In Paris, the CAC 40 fell by 0.94 percent to 3,497.22 points, Madrid's IBEX 35 lost 1.12 percent to 8,138.40 points, and Milan's FTSE Mib closed 0.78 percent lower at 15,867 points.
German business confidence fell for the fifth month in a row in September to the lowest level since February 2010, data showed on Monday, suggesting that the eurozone debt crisis was increasingly hurting the German economy.
The Ifo economic institute's closely watched business climate index dropped to 101.4 points in September from 102.3 points in August. The Ifo data dashed market expectations for an unchanged reading, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
It also dragged down US stocks, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average shedding 0.21 percent to 13,550.90 points in late morning trade. The S&P 500-stock index fell 0.31 percent to 1,455.60, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 0.71 percent to 21.20 percent.
Markets were already spooked after the leaders of Germany and France clashed on Saturday over plans to monitor Europe's crisis-hit banks. At the weekend, Merkel and Hollande differed over a key plank of crisis-fighting: tighter checks on the European banking sector.
While France would like to hand the European Central Bank power to supervise all 6,000 eurozone banks from January, Germany would like it to keep an eye just on big banks and is in little hurry.
ASIA-PACIFIC STOCK MARKETS
Asian markets were mostly lower on Monday with a strong yen and renewed European debt concerns hurting exporters in Tokyo, though the Shanghai market ended up despite negative comments by officials over the weekend.
The initial boost given to markets by global central banks appears to have faded. Now that the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of Japan have all introduced measures to help their respective economies, investors are looking elsewhere for new cues.
In Asia, China remained a concern. Over the weekend, a senior advisor to the People's Bank of China said that there are no signs of a rebound in the local economy, while a senior housing official said that the country plans to continue implementing strict property controls.
Uncertainty over the leadership transition, expected to take place in October, and the ongoing island dispute with Japan, are also both weighing on sentiment.
The Hang Seng Index was down 0.2% at 20694.70, but reversing earlier losses due to the strong performances of local developers, which continued to outperform on expectations that housing prices could continue to rise due to quantitative easing increasing liquidity.
New World Development was up 1.1%, while Sun Hung Kai Properties added 1.3%. Chinese property developers were down in Hong Kong - such as China Overseas Land & Investment, which fell 1.1%.
The Shanghai Composite bounced back 0.3% to 2033.19, recovering slightly from last week's 4.6% slide. The persistent strength of the yen weighed on Japan's Nikkei Stock Average, which ended 0.5% lower at 9069.29, hurting exporters such as Canon and Sony, which were down 3.9% and 2.9% respectively. Steel companies were also sold heavily, with Nippon Steel down 3.6% and Kobe Steel 2.9% lower.
Also in Tokyo, Renesas Electronics soared 31.3% after news emerged that several major Japanese manufacturers have teamed up with a government investment fund to invest in the troubled electronics company. South Korea's Kospi Composite was up less than 0.1% at 2003.44.
Base metals closed in the red on the London Metal Exchange Monday, weighed down by fresh concerns over economic growth and a stronger dollar. At the close of open outcry trading, the LME's flagship three-month copper contract traded at $8,183 a metric ton, down 1.2% on the day.
The red metal earlier fell as low as $8,150/ton, down 1.6% on the previous session. Oil futures retreated on Monday after several reports underscored sputtering economic growth in some of the world's biggest oil consumers, raising fresh concerns about demand.
Light, sweet crude for November delivery settled 96 cents, or 1%, lower, to $91.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange settled $1.61, or 1.4%, lower to $109.81 a barrel.
Gold futures sold off on Monday, as a stronger dollar and profit-taking after recent highs took a toll on metals and other commodities futures. The broader metals complex tracked gold lower, with palladium among the top losers, off nearly 4%.
Despite the daily losses, however, metals and particularly gold are far from having lost their allure. Gold for December delivery declined $13.40, or 0.8%, to end at $1,764.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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