By CARLO PIOVANO
LONDON (AP) Global stock markets drifted lower on Monday as some investors sought to lock in profits from last week's strong gains.
Major indexes surged last week after U.S. lawmakers passed a bill to avoid a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases that have come to be known as the "fiscal cliff." The deal, however, remains incomplete. Politicians will face another deadline in two months to agree on more spending cuts.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy keeps recovering, though only at a modest rate. On Friday, official figures showed employers added 155,000 jobs in December, roughly as expected. The good sign was that hiring held up during the tense fiscal negotiations in Washington. But the increase was not large enough to bring the unemployment rate down from 7.8 percent.Having enjoyed a good couple of days, investors appeared ready to cash in. "It just seems like markets are entering a consolidation phase after recent gains," Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne, said in a market commentary. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to 6,071.53 while Germany's DAX was down nearly 0.5 percent to 7,738.63. France's CAC-40 lost 0.6 percent to 3,707.68. Wall Street appeared headed for losses ahead of the opening bell. Dow Jones futures fell 0.1 percent to 13,330 while S&P 500 futures lost 0.1 percent to 1,456.10. The one bright spot was the banking sector, where stocks were up after global regulators eased new rules obliging lenders to set capital aside. The so-called Basel III rules are a set of new international standards to make sure banks don't fall back into the sort of trouble that caused the 2008 financial crash. On Sunday, the officials setting those rules delayed the date by which certain amounts of cash had to be readily available.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
24/7 market commentary from Jim Cramer and 20+ veteran Wall Street gurus. Get access to the latest trading ideas on stocks, options, and ETFs as well as a real-time forum to see the pros exchanging their investment ideas.
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV