GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares mixed after German election; Fed again in focus

Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:05am EDT

* China PMI rises to six-month high of 51.2

* Merkel sees victory but coalition still needed

NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Global equities were mixed on Monday as an election triumph for German leader Angela Merkel was greeted with caution and upbeat euro zone and Chinese data was offset by nagging uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's policy stance.

The euro took a tumble after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said euro zone interest rates will remain at current or lower levels for an extended period of time.

"We had some good news out of China and Europe and the elections in Germany are favorable for the euro zone, but focus remains on the Fed," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said on Monday that the Fed still needs to push hard against threats to the U.S. economic recovery, and said that fiscal uncertainties in particular "loom very large right now."

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 11.63 points, or 0.08 percent, at 15,439.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.96 points, or 0.17 percent, at 1,706.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 8.43 points, or 0.22 percent, at 3,783.16.

European shares on the FTSEurofirst 300 were down 0.4 percent at 1,258.33.

The euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.3506.

The German election was a key focus. Merkel's resounding win was seen as an endorsement of her steady leadership during the euro zone crisis, was followed by forward-looking euro zone and Chinese PMI data both showing further signs of a pick-up.

But it was not all smooth sailing since Merkel's conservatives appeared just short of the votes needed to rule on their own, while current coalition partner the Free Democrats suffered a humiliating exit from parliament.

"The result of the election should not be a big market mover in the short term as it was largely as expected. ... But the mid-term market implications loom large," Societe Generale said in a note, forecasting that a continuation of recent policies could push up inflation and erode competitiveness.

"We are aggressive sellers of German assets post the election. They should underperform other euro zone assets over the next quarters."

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