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May 27, 2017

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European stock markets strike a mixed note

LONDON/HONG KONG--Europe's stock markets diverged on Monday in mixed trading, ahead of a busy week for economic news, dealers said.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.11 percent to stand at 6,799.07 points in late morning deals in the capital. In Paris, the CAC-40 gained 0.33 percent to 4,345.47 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 index fell 0.11 percent to 9,633.72 compared with Friday's close. Before the weekend, European equities sank as sentiment was soured by falling German business confidence.

"Markets (are) paring back some of their losses from Friday," said Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at online stockbroker Interactive Investor.

"Whilst likely to be quite quiet today, with a raft of corporate and economic news due later this week, including the Fed meeting, U.S. GDP and U.S. employment numbers as well as a range of earnings results including European banks and oil companies, there is plenty to move the market and volatility is likely to increase."

Dealers will focus on Friday's July non-farm payroll figures out of Washington.

With last month's report coming in well above forecasts there are hopes for another strong set of figures as the U.S. economy picks up strength.

Asian markets mostly rose Monday as investors await the release of key U.S. data at the end of the week, while Shanghai and Hong Kong surged after China approved three private banks as part of an economic reform drive. The euro struggled to break out from multimonth lows against the dollar and yen following another weak set of data that raised concerns about the eurozone.

Tokyo rose 0.46 percent, or 71.53 points, to 15,529.40 — its highest close since January — while Seoul closed 0.74 percent, or 14.96 points, higher at 2,048.81 but Sydney dipped 0.11 percent, or 6.1 points, to close at 5,577.4.

Shanghai rallied 2.41 percent, or 51.33 points, to 2,177.95 and Hong Kong added 0.88 percent, or 212.62 points, to 24,428.63.

Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were closed for public holidays.

Wall Street ended last week on a low owing to disappointing earnings results, including from Amazon. The Dow slipped 0.72 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.48 percent after two straight record closes, while the Nasdaq lost 0.50 percent.

However, Asia started in an upbeat mood Monday, with Shanghai leading the charge after officials approved the setting up of the private banks.

Beijing in March said it would reform the banking sector, which is dominated by four state-owned banks, in a drive to boost efficiency and help develop the economy. The announcement at the end of last week fuelled hopes for further measures from the country's leaders to jolt the economy.

While regional markets are higher, investors are still wary of geopolitical tensions, with analysts warning the eurozone economy could be hurt by any fresh sanctions on Russia for its support of anti-government rebels in Ukraine.

Gold fetched US$1,304 an ounce by 10:55 GMT compared with US$1,292.42 late Friday.

In other markets:

— Mumbai retreated 0.52 percent, or 135.52 points, to end at 25,991.23.

Wockhardt fell 7.80 percent to 691.70 rupees, while IRB Infrastructure Developers dipped 5.53 percent to 235.75 rupees.

— Bangkok lost 0.37 percent or 5.72 points to 1,538.13.

Import and export firm Berli Jucker rose 4.00 percent to 58.50 baht, while TMB Bank added 3.52 percent to 2.94 baht

— Wellington slipped 0.14 percent, or 7.13 points, to 5,187.14.

Contact Energy was down 0.72 percent at NZ$5.55 and Telecom eased 0.34 percent to NZ$2.94.

— Manila fell 0.57 percent, or 39.08 points, to 6,850.47.

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