GLOBAL MARKETS-European shares gain as global growth fears ease

Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:46am EDT

* European shares edge higher in early trade

* Euro off its lows as market awaits clarity on Greece, Spain

* Chinese data helps dispel worries about extent of slowdown

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - European shares gained and the euro trimmed some of its losses after Chinese data offered evidence for stronger than expected global growth on Monday, but uncertainty over when Spain might request a bailout weighed on investors.

Data over the weekend from China, the world's second largest economy, showed inflation subdued in September while exports had rebounded at nearly twice the rate expected, helping to dispel concerns ahead of Chinese GDP numbers on Thursday which are still expected to point to slight slowdown.

"There is a lot of caution around because economic growth does look difficult from where we are, while the debt situation in Europe remains challenging," said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

European shares edged higher in early trade with the FTSE Eurofirst index of top European shares up 0.1 percent at 1,094.42 points. London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX rose between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent.

On Friday, U.S. stocks wrapped up their worst week in four months, led lower by financial shares. More financial institutions will report earnings in the coming days, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America . There are concerns about shrinking profit margins.

The dollar index measured against a basket of six major currencies gained around 0.2 percent on Monday, undermining dollar-denominated commodities.

Copper prices fell 0.4 percent to a one-month low, while Brent crude oil slipped 56 cents to $114.06 a barrel. Gold extended recent losses to touch a 2-1/2-week low of $1,741.24 an ounce.

The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.2930 as traders look ahead to a European Union summit later this week for any developments in measures to help the debt-laden economies of Spain and Greece.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said his government expects to agree on a new austerity package with its lenders and for the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to bridge their differences on how to cut the country's debt at the leader's meeting on Thursday and Friday.

Euro zone officials have said Madrid is likely to ask for financial aid in November, paving the way for the European Central Bank's programme to buy bonds of struggling euro zone states that ask for assistance.

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