A TV presenter gets ready for the daily reporting from the floor of the German share price index DAX at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 15, 2023. 

Staff | Reuters

LONDON — European markets were muted on Monday amid an apparent pause in a significant global rally as traders bet on interest rate cuts from major central banks in 2024.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered just below the flatline in early trade, with mining stocks shedding 1.5% to lead loses while retail stocks added 0.8%.

Gold prices notched a fresh record high on Monday for a second consecutive day, with spot prices touching $2,100, with analysts citing geopolitical uncertainty, a likely weaker U.S. dollar and possible interest rate cuts as further catalysts for bullion heading into next year.

The prospect of rate cuts, and more imminently another hold from the U.S. Federal Reserve at its next policy meeting in mid-December, sent the S&P 500 to a 2023 high on Friday following a five-week winning streak. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average in November enjoyed its best month since October 2022.

The upward momentum continued despite Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s efforts to temper market expectations for incoming rate cuts, as he argued it was “premature to conclude with confidence” that monetary policy was “sufficiently restrictive.”

U.S. stock futures were fractionally lower in early premarket trade on Monday as some caution returned.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were also mixed on Monday with investors awaiting a fresh round of economic data on Tuesday, and key inflation readings later in the week.

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