It was a mixed night for international markets last night, with modest gains in Europe countered by weakness in the US.
In London, the UK’s FTSE 100 gained 24 points (+0.5%) to settle at 5321, whilst the CAC (+0.1%) and DAX (-0.3%) didn’t fare quite so well.
In Europe, Germany’s jobless rate fell to 6.7% in May, the lowest level since comparable records began in 1998, and better than economists’ prediction for a 6.8% rate. German retail sales rose more than expected in April.
In addition, the inflation rate for the eurozone slowed to 2.4% in May from 2.6% in April, less than expectations of 2.5%.
Slowing inflation gave hope that the European Central Bank would be more willing to provide additional stimulus measures.
Stateside, the Dow Jones shed 26 points (-0.2%) to settle at 12393, whilst the S&P (-0.2%) and Nasdaq (-0.4%) also lost ground.
The US economy added fewer-than-expected private-sector jobs in May, according to a report by Automatic Data Processing and consultant Macroeconomic Advisers.
Also, the number of US workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, the Labor Department reported.
Elsewhere, a reading on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region fell more than economists expected, to the lowest level since September 2009.
Commodities fell, capping the biggest monthly slump since 2008, as Europe’s escalating debt woes dimmed prospects for demand and drove crude oil into a bear market.
Oil capped the biggest monthly drop in more than three years on speculation that slowing US growth and Europe’s debt crisis will reduce fuel demand.
Crude for July delivery declined $1.29 to $86.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Oct. 20. Futures tumbled 17% this month, the biggest decrease since December 2008, and are down 12% this year.
Elsewhere, copper shed 0.7%, whilst bullion slipped 0.3% to settle at US$1561 an ounce.
There is no major local economic data due out today, although there will be PMI data out of China, at 11:00am, AEST, which could affect the local action.
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