GLOBAL MARKETS-Chinese data supports stocks as U.S. earnings season picks up
* China Q2 GDP matches consensus, monthly factory data upbeat
* MSCI world index nears highest since Feb 2018
* Wall Street little changed; financials weigh (Updates with open of U.S. markets, changes dateline; previous LONDON)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) – A gauge of global stocks advanced on Monday as economic data from China came in as expected, although stocks on Wall Street were little changed as financials showed some weakness in the wake of Citigroup’s earnings report.
China’s second-quarter annual GDP growth rate fell to a 27-year low of 6.2%, as expected, while June reports on industrial production, retail sales and urban investment were above forecasts.
“We knew it was going to be weaker, we knew the trade war was going to have an impact. What is next is the People’s Bank of China remains stimulative, they remain accommodative to the country,” said Ken Polcari, managing principal at Butcher Joseph Asset Management in New York.
“Really, the story is now obviously about earnings,” he added.
On Wall Street, major indexes were near flat, with the S&P kept in check after its first close above the 3,000 mark by a 0.6% decline in financial stocks in the wake of Citigroup earnings. The bank’s shares were last up 0.00% after losing as much as 2.4%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 15.8 points, or 0.06%, to 27,316.23, the S&P 500 lost 2.76 points, or 0.09%, to 3,011.01 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.22 points, or 0.03%, to 8,246.37.
Equities have rallied since a sell-off in May as investors have grown more confident the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut its key interest rate by at least a quarter point late this month. Improving economic data, however, could complicate the Fed’s ability to cut.
Corporate earnings are also moving into focus with a slew of banks scheduled to follow Citi this week, including JP Morgan , Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. According to Refinitiv data, S&P 500 companies are expected to show a decline of 0.3 percent for the quarter.
Other major companies scheduled to post results this week include Netflix, Microsoft and Honeywell .
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.36% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.09%.
European shares advanced even as Germany’s Economy Ministry said it expected the economy – Europe’s largest – to turn in a weak second quarter and said there remain significant risks from the ongoing trade conflicts and Britain’s expected departure from the European Union. Germany’s DAX was last up 0.52%.
Later in the week, U.S. retail sales and industrial production data will provide clues about the health of the world’s largest economy. The Federal Reserve will release its “Beige Book” on Wednesday and investors will scour it for comments on how trade tensions are affecting the business outlook.
U.S. Treasury yields were lower with investors eyeing retail sales data due on Tuesday. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 2/32 in price to yield 2.0992%, from 2.106% late on Thursday.
Oil prices were little changed in the wake of the mixed tone of the China data. U.S. crude fell 0.83% to $ 59.71 per barrel and Brent was last at $ 66.49, down 0.34% on the day.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Dan Grebler)