European stocks drifted lower Monday as investors reacted to an historic win for pro-Europe candidate Emmanuel Macron in Sunday's presidential election runoff but kept one eye on weaker-than-expected trade data from China.
The region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 index, the broadest measure of share prices, nudged 0.18% lower in early trading to 394.56 after an opening minute spike that lifted the benchmark by more than 0.2%. Benchmarks around the region also initially spiked higher at the open, before investors trimmed positions and pulled back from multi-year and all-time highs for markets in France and Germany now that the election result was settled over the weekend.
Britain's FTSE 100, however, took advantage of a modestly lower pound, which eased 0.1% against the U.S. dollar to 1.2973, to add around 7.1 points in the opening 30 minute of trading.
Some of the early enthusiasm may have been tempered by softer-than-expected trade data from China, which showed an 8% rise in exports -- compared to an 11% forecast -- and a trade surplus of $38.05 billion that missed analysts' estimates of $35.5 billion.
China's Shanghai Composite fell to a 7-month low in the wake of the figures, with the benchmark slipping 0.8% to 3,078.61 points.
That said, Asia stocks traded firmly higher in the wake of the win, which pegged Macron with around 65.5% of the overall vote compared to 34.5% for his anti-European rival, Marine Le Pen, the widest margin of victory in a second round runoff in 50 years.
The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was marked 0.77% higher while Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 2.3% to 19,895.7 points, the highest since December 2015. as investors returned from last week's Golden Week holiday celebrations.
Currency market reaction, however, saw the euro pull back from six-month highs of 1.1024 against the U.S. dollar following Macron's win as investors took profits from trimmed pre-election bets. The single currency was last seen trading at 1.0971.
The dollar itself was trading firmly higher against a basket of its global peers, changing hands at 98.24, although the advance was limited by details of Friday's April employment report from the U.S. Labor department which showed a lower-than-expected total for job creation in March and a slowing labor force participation rate.
Global oil markets rebounded in early Monday trading after Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister, Khalif Al-Falih, told an industry event in Kuala Lumpur that he was "confident the (OPEC agreement on production cuts) will be extended into the second half of the year."
WTI futures for June delivery rose more than 1% following the comments, but pared gains quickly and were marked little changed from Friday's close at $46.10 each by 09:30 BST. Brent contracts for the same month, the global benchmark, were seen 0.70% higher at $49.06 per barrel.
Market gains were somewhat limited by weaker-than-expected import data from China, which showed that the world's fastest-growing energy consumer took in 34.39 million barrels of oil last month, the country's General Administration of Customs said Monday, down 11.7% from March and well below market expectations.
Read More of TheStreet's Top Stories:
- Why Tesla's Explosive Stock Price Deserves to Keep Plummeting
- Apple as Consumer Product Company; Trump as Loose-Cannon-in-Chief: Jim Cramer's View
- Verizon's NFL Streaming Deal May be Sign of Things to Come From Carrier, Tech Rivals
- You Must Start Investing Now Because the Dow May Hit 100,000 By 2030
- 5 Things You Must Know Before the Market Opens Monday