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European, US stocks kick off busy week with gains

Oil prices up, inflation concerns continue

By AFP - Oct 25,2021 - Last updated at Oct 25,2021

People walk outside of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday in New York City (AFP photo)

LONDON — European and US stock markets mostly rose on Monday with traders assessing company earnings and looking ahead to an ECB rate decision and UK budget later in the week.

Asian markets closed mixed following last week's gains, with investors keeping a worried eye on a fresh COVID outbreak in China that could drag on the already stuttering economy.

Oil prices pressed higher, with Brent at a three-year high above $86 per barrel, while WTI rose above $85 for the first time since October 2014.

The latest gains for crude come after Saudi Arabia said OPEC and other major producers would be cautious in lifting output despite surging demand, warning that the pandemic still posed a threat to the outlook.

The euro dropped with data showing Germany's business climate worsened in October for the fourth month in a row, as supply chain woes weighed on the country's export-driven economy.

Long-running worries about inflation, meanwhile, continued to cast a shadow over trading, though a healthy batch of earnings has tempered those concerns in the past couple of weeks and Wall Street has scaled new summits.

"Records were set last week by the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. More could be coming this week, but there is a big earnings hill to climb if that is going to happen," said market analyst Patrick J. O'Hare at Briefing.com.

US tech titans including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft provide their own earnings updates this week, which will be closely followed for an idea about what impact supply chain snarls and rising prices are having on their bottom lines.

Their forward guidance will also be of interest as businesses contemplate tighter central bank monetary policies.

News that Chinese Company Evergrande had paid interest due on a bond before Saturday's deadline provided a much-needed boost to market confidence, though it remains to be seen whether the property developer can meet obligations on other notes due before the end of the year.

Chinese markets also got some extra cheer from Evergrande saying it had resumed work on more than 10 projects. 

But there were concerns about the property sector after reports that China plans to expand pilot property tax reforms.

The latest Delta variant outbreak in mainland China, meanwhile, comes just over three months before the country hosts the Winter Olympics.

The latest spike has forced authorities to reimpose strict containment measures, but there are fears of a wider lockdown that would weigh on economic growth. 

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