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World stocks mostly flat ahead of G20; dollar slips

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World stocks mostly flat ahead of G20; dollar slips
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid   -   Copyright  BRENDAN MCDERMID(Reuters)
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By Herbert Lash

NEWYORK (Reuters) – Global equity markets traded mostly flat on Monday as investors awaited U.S.-China trade talks this week at the G20 summit, and the dollar fell to three-month lows on bets the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates more than once this year.

European stocks stumbled on fears of an escalation in Iran tensions, which also kept gold prices near a six-year high. Shares in China edged higher on hopes of a thaw in the Sino-U.S. trade war that been blamed for slowing global growth.

Chinese state media said on Sunday that President Xi Jinping will attend the summit in Osaka, Japan, where he is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump.

U.S. stocks rose but held below a record intra-day high set last week. They are unlikely to push much higher without progress on U.S.-China trade or a Fed rate cut, said Rick Meckler, a partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

“Until we get that G20 meeting and start to get some feedback from the (Trump) administration, it’s going to be tough to go higher,” he said.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.17%, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares fell 0.2%.

German business morale fell in June to its lowest level since November 2014, an Ifo institute survey showed, adding weight to expectations that Europe’s largest economy contracted in the second quarter. Germany’s DAX index fell 0.53%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 51.56 points, or 0.19%, to 26,770.69, the S&P 500 gained 2.31 points, or 0.08%, to 2,952.77 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.87 points, or 0.02%, to 8,029.84.

The dollar softened against a basket of currencies on bets the Fed may lower rates more than once this year, while U.S.-Iranian tensions provided safe-haven support for the yen.

The dollar index fell 0.16%, with the euro up 0.23% to $1.1392. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.01% versus the greenback at 107.41 per dollar.

Interest rate futures implied traders priced in a 100% chance the Fed would cut rates at the end of July, with a high probability for two additional rate cuts, according to CME Group’s FedWatch programme.

U.S. Treasury yields fell, holding just above almost three-year lows. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 12/32 in price to push yields lower to 2.0263%.

The glum German data pushed bond yields across the euro zone lower, reinforcing ECB rate-cut expectations.

In developing markets, the Turkish lira strengthened as much as 2% after Turkey’s main opposition won a re-run election in Istanbul for mayor on Sunday, a blow to President Tayyip Erdogan. The lira later pared some gains.

Bitcoin pulled back from 15-month highs after jumping more than 10% over the weekend. Analysts said the gains came amid growing optimism over the adoption of cryptocurrencies after Facebook announced its Libra digital coin.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell on concerns about the possibility of weakening demand after large gains last week caused tensions between the United States and Iran.

Benchmark Brent crude fell 47 cents at $64.73 a barrel, while U.S. crude declined 12 cents at $57.31.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who met with Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince on Monday — warned “significant” sanctions on Tehran would be announced.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by David Gregorio)

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