European stock markets were slightly higher Monday as investors trod cautiously ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole meeting this week which could produce some hints about the timing of a further interest rate hike.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was up around 0.51 percent.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen will speak at the annual mountain retreat meeting of central bankers on Friday, with markets watching closely for comments on the U.S. economy.
The U.S. dollar was higher against major currencies including the yen, euro and sterling after Fed vice-chairman Stanley Fischer said on Sunday that the U.S. economy was close to hitting the central bank’s targets for full employment and 2 percent inflation.
Analysts said that further positive comments could come out of Wyoming meeting.
“I think there is a growing expectation that Jackson Hole may see some relatively upbeat and hawkish commentary on the U.S. economy. So the key things to watch this week will be how high this bounce in the USD can go and how much we see a similar move in US treasuries,” Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG, told CNBC by email.
Strong dollar hits commodities
The muted open follows mixed trade in Asia and as oil prices pulled back. Brent and U.S. crude prices were both sharply lower on Monday as analysts doubted that OPEC would make any decision on freezing supply when it meets in September. Markets were still worried that there is an oil glut, which would put pressure on prices.
Oil and gas stocks were trading mixed with the likes of Statoil in the red.
The stronger dollar also weighed on metal prices, as it hampers demand by making the assets more expensive for those buying in other currencies. Precious metals miner Fresnillo was in negative territory amid a fall in the price of gold, while other major miners such as Glencore and Anglo American were lower. The basic resources sector was one of the worst-performers in early trade.
ChemChina gets Syngenta takeover clearance
In individual stock news, the U.S.-based Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) cleared ChemChina’s $43 billion takeover of Swiss agrochemical group Syngenta. The news sent Syngenta shares over 12 percent higher.
Elsewhere, Volkswagen shares were trading flat after the German carmaker said 25,000 workers were affected by disruptions at six plants following a dispute with its suppliers.
Shares of French retail giant Carrefour were higher after Bernstein raised its price target and outlook on the stock.