European Stocks End Lower in Quiet Monday Trading

European equity markets edged lower on Monday  after the region posted its best week in over a year. Overall trading conditions were quiet at the start of the week, with China and the New York Stock Exchange closed for holidays.

Markets Down Across the Board

All of Europe’s major indexes finished lower. The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index fell 0.2% to close at 379.70. In individual markets, Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 each fell 0.2%.

European markets roared back last week after one of their worst selloffs in recent memory. The regional Stoxx 600 index climbed 3.3% for its best week since December 2016. The gains were partly driven by a relief rally on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 Index posting its best week since 2013.

U.S. stock futures were down across the board on Monday. At the time of writing, the Dow Jones mini contract was down 87 points. The March S&P 500 futures contract was also down 4.25 points.

Japanese Equities Gain

Japan’s main stock index traded firmly higher on Monday as the yen gave back some of its recent gains versus the dollar. The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 2% to 22,149.21. Despite the gain, Japan’s benchmark index is down 7% on the month.

The Topix index added 2.2% to close at 1,775.15 on Monday.

Markets in Hong Kong will reopen on Tuesday. Traders in mainland China return to their desks on Thursday.

Data, Monetary Policy the Focus of the Week

Traders in search for catalysts could find them in the form of economic data and monetary policy later this week. In terms of economic data, action picks up on Wednesday with a deluge of PMI reports covering the Eurozone and U.S. markets. U.K. earnings and employment data will also make headlines. U.K. and Eurozone GDP numbers are also scheduled for release in the latter half of the week.

On the monetary policy front, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of last month’s FOMC meeting, which could shed light on the future path of interest rates. The U.S. central bank is widely expected to hike rates at its forthcoming meeting in March. At the time of writing, traders were pricing in an 83.1% likelihood of a rate hike at the Mar. 20-21 meeting, according to the CME Group’s Fed Fund futures prices.

Multiple Fed officials will deliver speeches in the latter half of the week, including FOMC member Loretta Mester and Neel Kashkari. Fed Governor Randal Quarles and William Dudley of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are also scheduled to make the rounds.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi