European stocks opened weaker Monday and Wall Street futures drifted into the red as investors pulled cash from global equity markets amid concerns that tech sector shares could be due for a correction following a notable downgrade for Samsung Electronics and underwhelming Black Friday sales for tech gadgets.
Britain's FTSE 100 was marked 0.3% lower in the opening minutes of trading in London, led to the downside by basic material and energy sector shares and a stronger pound, which traded past the 1.33 mark against the U.S. dollar. Germany's DAX performance index was also weaker, opening around 0.4% lower as investors trimmed positions in export stocks amid a jump in the euro.
The euro traded at a one-month high of 1.1942 against the U.S. dollar overnight as the single currency rode a tailwind of stronger-than-expected regional economic data last week and Sunday reports that Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, will meet with her main political rival, SPD leader Martin Schulz, later this week with the aim of establishing terms for a so-called "grand coalition" government that would end the current political impasse in Europe's biggest economy.
Early indications from Wall Street futures suggest a modest pullback at the start of trading Monday, with those linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked 12 points lower from their Friday close and those tied to the broader S&P 500 marked 8 points lower.
Away from currencies, bitcoin prices surged to a fresh record high of $9,600, just days after printing $9,000 for the first time, as the global tide of investor speculation in cryptocurrencies continues unabated.
Overnight in Asia, stocks retreated from the fresh 10-year peaks reached late last week, taking the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index 0.18% lower thanks in large part to a 1.4% decline in South Korea's KOSPI index on the back of a notable downgrade for Samsung Electronics, whose shares fell 5% into the close of trading.
Morgan Stanley reduced its rating on the tech giant to 'equal weight' from 'overweight' and cautioned that the memory chip sector's so-called "super cycle" could be coming to an end, noting "downside risk as NAND prices have started to reverse" and "visibility on DRAM supply-demand dynamics has reduced" into next year.
Global oil prices were active in overnight trading as investors trimmed prices from recent two-and-a-half year highs amid signs that U.S. production increases may at least partially offset speculation that OPEC will extend its agreed production cuts from March to the end of 2018 when leaders meet later this week for a major summit in Vienna.
Brent crude futures contracts for January delivery were marked 0.4% lower at $63.60 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month, which more closely translate to U.S. prices, were seen 0.8% lower at $58.47.