Greek stocks bashed on return, China woes go on for commodities
The Greek stock market slumped when it reopened on Monday after being shut down for five weeks, while weak data from China helped push oil prices to their lowest in six months and Asian stocks close to their 2015 lows.
Surveys showed China's factory activity contracted by the most in two years, ensuring a three-month sell-off in commodity and emerging markets would continue.
Brent oil fell to $51 a barrel, its lowest since the end of January. Industrial metal copper CMCU3 dropped to its weakest in six years. Gold was $1,093 an ounce XAU= after two years.
Europe was unsettled. Stocks in Athens .ATG plunged 17 percent when the market reopened after closing in late June. The euro EUR= and lower-rated government bonds also saw some mild selling.
On the other hand, economic data was encouraging. Euro zone factory activity grew faster than previously thought in July. The Netherlands, Spain and Italy all reported healthy growth - Italy's expansion was its best in more than four years.
"Policymakers will be reassured by the robust growth rates seen in these countries and the resilience of the manu-
its worst month in facturing sector as a whole," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at survey compiler Markit. "Especially as growth is likely to pick up again now that Greece has jumped its latest hurdle in the ongoing debt crisis,"
Upbeat results from HSBC (HSBA.L), Commerzbank CBKG.DEHSBC and Heineken (HEIN.AS) also helped offset Greece's troubles.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 was 0.5 percent higher by 1045 GMT. Gains of 0.7 and 0.6 percent in Frankfurt .GDAXI and Paris FCHI compensated for a 0.2 percent dip by London's FTSE .FTSE as its mining companies and oil firms suffered again.