(MENAFN - AFP) Europe's main stock markets fell on Monday and the euro steadied versus the dollar as traders awaited further clues on when the Federal Reserve plans reducing its huge stimulus programme.
London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares dropped 0.15 percent to stand at 6,490.51 points in late morning deals
Frankfurt's DAX 30 dipped 0.08 percent to 8,384.84 points and the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.48 percent to 4,103.97 compared with Friday's closing values.
"The new trading week has picked up pretty much where the last one left off, with equity markets struggling for impetus as indices drift lower in light volume trade," said Matt Basi, head of UK sales trading at CMC Markets.
"A blank macro calendar today is unlikely to inspire much change to the recent pattern, with most traders awaiting Wednesday's Fed minutes and any clues on the potential scale of the tapering plan that the market now seems convinced will begin in September," he added.
In foreign exchange trading, the euro stood at 1.3327 compared with 1.3326 late in New York on Friday, with the European single currency holding firm following last week's figures showing some economic life returning to the eurozone.
The dollar rose to 97.67 yen from 97.53 yen, while sterling continued its climb against the euro and US currency.
India's rupee plunged to a new low against the dollar and its main stocks index slid futher on Monday even as the World Bank's chief economist said the country's economic problems were "overplayed".
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold increased to 1,373.77 an ounce from 1,369.25 on Friday.
In company movement, Austrian oil and gas giant OMV is buying North Sea oil and gas assets from Norwegian group Statoil for 2.65 billion (1.99 billion euros), the two companies announced.
In reaction, OMV shares were down 2.31 percent at 34.25 euros, while Statoil was showing a gain of 1.32 percent.
Asian stock markets meanwhile traded mixed on Monday following a weak lead from Wall Street before the weekend, as traders erred on the side of caution on expectations that the US Fed would soon begin reeling in its stimulus programme.
US shares ended lower on Friday, bringing a close to one of Wall Street's worst weeks of 2013, as a consumer confidence report showed weaker sentiment in August than July while retailers also reported poor earnings.
However, while the latest economic data out of Washington were soft investors feel the US central bank will begin to wind down the 85 billion a month bond-buying scheme that has supported global markets for almost a year.
Many market-watchers predict the bank will begin its tapering next month.
However, BNP Paribas economist Julia Coronado said: "While clearly a September move is on the table, we think it is less of a done deal than most market participants are currently thinking."
She told Dow Jones Newswires that minutes from July's Fed policy meeting that are due out this week will likely show a variety of views within the bank over the programme's future.
Expectations for tapering as early as September sent yields on US, German and British government bonds to their highest levels this year on Monday, traders said.