By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Retreating U.S. technology shares and soft European markets capped world equity gains on Monday, while the U.S. dollar fell to its lowest level in over a year against a basket of major currencies.
European shares initially gained on a boost from HSBC, as Europe’s biggest bank unveiled a 5-percent rise in half-year profits and a third share buyback in a year. But they later retreated amid weakness in tobacco stocks and some broker downgrades.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> lost 0.11 percent, while MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.16 percent. MSCI’s index was poised for its best month in a year while the FTSEurofirst lost ground for a second straight month.
On Wall Street, banks were also a bright spot, with the S&P financial index <.SPSY> up 0.63 percent as the best performing of 11 major sectors.
Weakness in technology stocks such as Facebook
Economic data on the U.S. housing market showed contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rebounded in June after three straight monthly declines, while other data showed Midwest factory activity slowed after hitting a three-month high in June.
“Maybe part of the reason why we’re flattish today, at least for the S&P, is that people are trying to figure out where the overall economy is going and the signs have been mixed,” said Ed Keon, managing director and portfolio manager at QMA, a multi-asset manager in Newark, New Jersey.
“If you look at broader picture, a lot of the data has been a little on the disappointing side.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 60.88 points, or 0.28 percent, to 21,891.19, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 1.74 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,470.36 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 26.55 points, or 0.42 percent, to 6,348.12.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 rose for the fourth straight month.
TOBACCO COMPANIES DROP
Shares of world tobacco companies continued to lag, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed on Friday to cut nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.
British American Tobacco
Mining companies in London <.SXPP> advanced 0.34 percent, as copper hit a fresh two-year high after Chinese data showed that while manufacturing growth cooled slightly this month, a government infrastructure push kept construction moving.
The U.S. dollar hit a 2-1/2-year low against the euro on Monday on month-end portfolio adjustments and expectations for a more hawkish European Central Bank, and touched a more than six-week low against the yen on concerns over low U.S. inflation.
The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.45 percent, with the euro
Benchmark 10-year notes
Oil prices climbed as news of a producers’ meeting next week added to bullish sentiment driven by the threat of U.S. sanctions against OPEC-member Venezuela.
(Additional reporting by Kimberly Chin; Editing by Nick Zieminski)