European markets open mixed on 26 August
A trader watches the screens at a bank's trading room in Lisbon (Reuters).

European markets opened mixed ahead of the release of US durable-goods orders data for the month of July.

The Stoxx Europe 600 opened flat to 304.76.

France's CAC 40 opened flat.

Germany's DAX 30 opened 0.1% higher.

Spain's IBEX 35 was trading 0.12% higher in early trade.

Italy's FTSE MIB was trading 0.53% higher in early trade.

Financial markets in the UK remained closed for the summer bank holiday.

US durable-goods orders data measures the cost of orders received by manufacturers for durable goods. The reading throws light on the state of US factory activity.

The US central bank has said it could start trimming its asset buys during the year, if economic data continued to improve in line with its expectations. The Fed's FOMC is due to meet on 17 September, 29 October and 17 December.

In Europe, Portugal's international lenders will visit Lisbon to review the progress of country's €78bn (£67bn, $102bn) rescue package.

Portugal's beleaguered government got a respite in July after the country's international leaders agreed to delay a mandatory bailout review by one month. A raft of ministerial resignations between May and July triggered a political crisis in the country, which threatened to undermine its attempts to gain financial credibility.

In Italy, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's party threatened to bring down the government if a Senate vote in September ousted him from parliament.

Italy's Supreme Court has upheld a tax-fraud conviction against Berlusconi, making a four-year prison sentence definitive. However, three years of his sentence are not effective because of a 2006 amnesty. The remaining one year is likely to be served under house arrest or community service.

Elsewhere, German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to calm voters that Greece would not need a debt write-down. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble earlier let slip that crisis-mired Greece will need a third bailout for it to "get over the hill." Multi-billion euro Greek bailouts, funded with large chunks from German taxpayers, are widely unpopular in Germany. Much of the population feels Greece should do more to cut back on its spending or simply leave the eurozone altogether.

In Asia and the US

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei finished 0.18% lower on Monday. South Korea's Kospi ended 0.95% higher while Australia's S&P/ASX finished 0.23% higher.

Earlier in Asia, most markets logged gains after Friday's weak US home sales data.

US economic data showed that Americans bought fewer homes in July compared to June. Sales of newly built homes dropped 13.4% to 394,000 units, compared with 455,000 units in June. The July figure is the lowest for nine months.

Axel Merk, portfolio manager of Merk Funds told Reuters: "The fear is clearly that higher interest rates (are) going to topple (the) housing recovery, which means the Fed has to ease and not tighten." Merk Funds holds close to $500m in currency mutual-fund assets.

"The theme of 'bad news is good news', again rang true on Friday night with US stocks ending higher, despite less than forecast new home sales data," said Tim Radford, global analyst at Rivkin Securities.

"With tapering concerns off the agenda until we get close to the next FOMC meeting late September, reduced market anxiety may see [Australian] prices trend higher back toward all-time highs as investors again look to buy the dips," Radford said.

Most stock markets across Asia finished the week ended 24 August higher. Australia's S&P/ASX led the pack while South Korea's Kospi trailed.

On Wall Street, indices ended higher on 23 August. The Dow finished 0.31% higher or 46.77 points to 15,010.51. The S&P 500 closed 0.39% higher or 6.54 points to 1,663.50, while the Nasdaq ended 0.52% higher or 19.09 points to 3,657.79.

For the week ended 24 August, the Dow dropped 0.5%, the S&P moved up 0.5% and the Nasdaq gained 1.5%.