Monday February 20th


US markets closed due to Presidents Day

European markets inched higher in early afternoon trade on Monday as investors eyed earnings, fresh economic data, and remained watchful for any more details from U.S. President Donald Trump regarding his economic policies. The pan-European Stoxx 600 pared most of its early gains to trade up 0.1 percent in lunchtime trade with major bourses pointing in different directions. Asian markets finished mostly higher on Monday, searching for direction, as investors await further details from President Donald Trump on his economic policies, including tax reforms. Japan's Nikkei 225 index finished near flat at 19,251.08, reversing earlier losses of nearly 0.6 percent as the yen weakened against the dollar to trade at 113.12 at 3:12 p.m. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.61 percent in late afternoon trade, while Chinese mainland shares also advanced. The Shanghai composite gained 39.38 points, or 1.23 percent, to 3,241.45, while the Shenzhen composite added 17.42 points, or 0.89 percent, to 1,962.52. The blue-chip CSI 300 index posted gains of 1.5 percent to 3,472.36, following media reports that pension funds may begin flowing into the Chinese stock market as early as this week. Oil prices rose on Monday but gains were limited as investors gauged whether an increase in U.S. drilling rigs and record stockpiles might offset the existing push by producers to cut output and bring the market into balance. Brent futures were up 33 cents at $56.14 a barrel at 1235 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 23 cents to $53.63. Gold held steady on Monday as traders awaited further clues on the pace of U.S. interest rate rises from a Federal Reserve officials due to speak this week. The precious metal is highly sensitive to rising U.S. rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced. Spot gold was at $1,236.01 an ounce at 1230 GMT, little changed from $1,235.22 on Friday, while U.S. gold futures for April delivery were down 0.2 percent at $1,237.10.