Global stocks mixed on Italy, China worries; dollar steady

Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:02pm EDT
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By Richard Leong and Richard Hubbard

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - European stock prices dipped on Monday as weak economic data from China and worries about Italy following a credit downgrade undermined optimism generated by last week's strong U.S. employment report.

U.S. stocks were little changed, while a measure of global equities edged higher.

The dollar clung to gains from the payrolls data, trading near a 3-1/2-year high against the yen and a 3-month peak versus the euro and keeping pressure on gold and oil prices.

U.S. and German government debt prices held steady as prices of Italian and other peripheral euro zone bonds fell in the wake of a cut in Italy's credit rating by Fitch Ratings late on Friday.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 2/32, the yield at 2.0559 percent.

"I think the Italian downgrade is acting as a bit of a wake-up call," said Alastair Winter, chief economist at investment bank Daniel Stewart & Co in London.

Fitch cut Italy's rating one notch and gave it a negative outlook, citing political uncertainty following last month's election, a protracted recession and high levels of debt.

Still, some analysts see appetite for stocks, propelling them to further gains.   Continued...

Electronic information boards display market information at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London January 2, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Hackett