World Stocks Listless

World Stocks Listless

HONG KONG (AP) -- World stock markets were listless Monday as investors braced for a December Fed rate cut that appeared all but certain, with gains coming mostly in Japan and China as the dollar's strength against local currencies lifted the export outlook.

KEEPING SCORE: European shares edged higher in early trading. France's CAC 40 rose 0.2 percent to 4,512.17 while Germany's DAX crept 0.1 percent higher to 10,677.47. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent to 6,787.48. U.S. stocks were poised for a modest open. Dow futures were up less than 0.1 percent to 18,866.00 and broader S&P 500 futures climbed. 0.1 percent to 2,183.90.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.8 percent to end at 18,106.02 and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8 percent to 3,218.15. However, South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.4 percent to 1,966.05 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up less than 0.1 percent to 22,357.78. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.2 percent to 5,351.30 and India's Sensex lost 1.5 percent to 25,764.83. Taiwan's benchmarks rose but those in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines sagged.

RENMINBI RETREAT: Chinese authorities set the yuan's official "parity rate," known as the fix, for the country's tightly controlled currency 189 basis points lower to 6.8985 against the dollar. It's the 12th day in a row Beijing has guided the yuan lower, amid suspicions Beijing is willing to let the currency weaken to help exports. The yuan, also known as the renminbi, hasn't been this weak since the depths of the global financial crisis in 2008. The currency's decline has hastened after Donald Trump's U.S. election victory. He has vowed to brand China a currency manipulator as part of measures to counter what he says are unfair trade practices.

FED OUTLOOK: The dollar has also been rising against other major world currencies as investors increasingly factor in a Fed rate hike in December based on comments last week from U.S. central bank policymakers. The dollar's nearly 7 percent again against the yen in the past week to its highest in six months has helped boost Japan's major exporters, which benefit because their overseas profits can be converted into more yen. Trump's campaign promises to boost the U.S. economy by ramping up government spending and cutting red tape have lifted the dollar but investors continue to wait for concrete details.

ANALYST INSIGHT: "Traders are positioning for another USD leg higher, despite concerns that we are nearing a near-term pinnacle from the USD positivity of Trump mania," said Stephen Innes, senior trader at Oanda, adding that China's central bank might not be willing to let the yuan weaken past 7.0 to the dollar. "Up until now, the People's Bank of China has been unperturbed about the sliding yuan, but may be concerned about the rapid pace of the depreciation enough to 'pump the brakes,'" he said.

CURRENCIES: The dollar climbed to 110.85 yen from 110.92 yen in late trading Friday. The euro edged up to $1.0632 from $1.0589.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude extended its gains. Oil futures rose 79 cents to close at $47.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 27 cents to close at $45.69 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, added 69 cents to $47.55 a barrel in London.

(KA)