By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – European stocks rose on Monday, lifted by mining and commodities giant Glencore after it pledged to slash its debt by a third, and countering a fall in Asian markets led by weakness in China following a four-day break there.
Trading was lighter than usual with U.S. markets closed for the Labor Day holiday, while investors across all asset classes continued to digest the implications of last week’s U.S. jobs data for the timing of the first U.S. interest rate hike since 2006.
The FTSEuroFirst index of leading 300 shares closed up 0.48 percent at 1,399.34 (.FTEU3) and Britain’s mining-heavy FTSE 100 index finished up 0.52 percent at 6,074.52 (.FTSE).
Both indexes had been up well over 1 percent earlier . Glencore (GLEN.L) shares rose as much as 12 percent after it said it will suspend dividends, sell assets and raise $2.5 billion in a new share issue as it aims to cut its debt to $20 billion by the end of next year.
“The news was well-received by the market,” said David Papier at ETX Capital in London.
Glencore closed up 7 percent at 131.8 pence.
The rally in Europe was broad-based, marking a rebound from Friday’s steep losses of almost 3 percent after investors marginally upped their bets that the Federal Reserve could raise U.S. interest rates later this month.
Germany’s DAX was up 0.7 percent (.GDAXI) at 10,108.61 points and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.59 percent at 4,549.64 points (.FCHI), both halving their opening gains.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1 percent, driven by stocks in China where markets reopened after closing over Thursday and Friday as Beijing marked 70 years since the end of World War Two.
Shanghai shares (.SSEC) initially rose as much as 1.8 percent after weekend remarks by regulators aimed at calming the market, but reversed course to close down 2.6 percent.
China’s policymakers and regulators promised deeper financial market reforms. They emphasized signs that the economy was stabilizing, but trimmed 2014 growth figures and said foreign exchange reserves fell in August by $93.9 billion – the largest monthly fall on record – to $3.55 trillion.
Chinese exchanges announced steps on Monday to try and reduce the recent volatility in stock markets and would introduce a ‘circuit breaker’ on one of the country’s benchmark stock indexes to “stabilize the market.”
“It prevents a degree of very unhealthy volatility from impacting the market and at the same time allows investors to trade their conviction but not to the point where it becomes dysfunctional and counterproductive,” said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York.
“This could actually help global markets quite a bit just in terms of investor psychology.”
Financial leaders from the world’s 20 biggest economies agreed on Saturday to step up reform efforts to boost growth, saying reliance on ultra-low interest rates would not be enough to accelerate economic expansion.
But they also said they were confident growth would pick up and, as a result, interest rates in “some advanced economies” – code for the United States – would have to rise.
Investors are uncertain whether rates will rise this month but that scepticism was diluted a little on Friday after figures showed nonfarm payrolls increased 173,000 last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent, its lowest in more than seven years.
“With Fed ‘liftoff’ coming soon and the U.S. recovery on track, we expect to see the 10-year yield close to 3 percent by the end of 2016. And that will be good news!” wrote Societe General strategists in a note to clients.
The 10-year Treasury yield closed at 2.13 percent on Friday , the lower end of its range over the last two weeks.
Core European government bonds were slightly weaker on Monday, with the 10-year German yield up half a basis point at 0.674 percent and the 30-year yield up 12 basis points at 1.415 percent .
The dollar was mostly stronger against its main rivals, up 0.3 percent against the yen at 119.40 yen (JPY=), and steady against the euro, which was changing hands at $1.1143 (EUR=).
The euro had dipped below $1.11 on Monday and on Friday after the U.S. jobs data.
Crude oil fell on a lingering supply glut. U.S. crude oil futures (CLc1) were down 3.9 percent at $44.25 a barrel and Brent crude dropped 3.7 percent to $47.76 a barrel (LCOc1).
(Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Nick Zieminski; To read Reuters Global Investing Blog click on http://blogs.reuters.com/globalinvesting; for the MacroScope Blog click on http://blogs.reuters.com/macroscope; for Hedge Fund Blog Hub click on http://blogs.reuters.com/hedgehub)
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