European stocks creep higher, as bitcoin attempts recovery

By: AFP      Published: 06:22 PM, 24 May, 2021
European stocks creep higher, as bitcoin attempts recovery

European stocks were rangebound Monday after a mixed session in Asia, while US shares advanced and bitcoin tried to rally after a weekend plunge.

London's FTSE 100 index was essentially unchanged in afternoon trading, as was the Paris CAC 40. Frankfurt was shut owing to a public holiday observed by several other exchanges as well.

Bitcoin jumped to around $38,000, after dropping on Sunday towards $30,000.

The last time it fell below that level was in January.

The cryptocurrency has experienced extreme volatility in recent weeks after a series of tweets by tech tycoon Elon Musk and warnings of a crackdown by China.

"The public holiday in parts of Europe, combined with light news flow over the weekend has meant that the week has kicked off in a relatively quiet fashion," remarked OANDA markets analyst Sophie Griffiths.

"The lack of any major earnings and a bare economic calendar mean the markets could be short of fresh catalysts," she added.

Europe's three major stock markets had advanced Friday on strong data which sparked hope of economic recovery from the Covid-19 health crisis.

Asian bourses were mixed however, as inflation concerns played off against optimism over the global economic recovery, while spiking infections in parts of the region kept investors on their toes.

Wall Street's Dow index posted a gain of 0.5 percent as trading got underway in New York.

With expectations that the global recovery will pick up pace this year, the main focus is now on US inflation data due on Friday. 

Observers warn that a long period of high inflation would force central banks to wind back the ultra-loose monetary policies that have helped fire a long-running market rally.

Adding to upward pressure on inflation is US President Joe Biden's massive stimulus package passed earlier this year, along with others worth trillions more for infrastructure and help for families.