May Day holiday around world contains markets

Created: 05/01/2014 11:26 AM

LONDON (AP) — With much of the world on holiday for May Day, those markets that remained open Thursday were lackluster a day ahead of key U.S. jobs data.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was the only major index to be traded, and it closed 0.4 percent higher at 6,808.87. It was a similar picture earlier in Asia, with Japan's Nikkei 225 the standout as it closed 1.3 percent higher at 14,485.13.

In the U.S., Wall Street was open but trading was subdued, with the Dow Jones industrial average 0.1 percent higher at 16,591.93 and the broader S&P 500 up 0.2 percent at 1,888.00.

Trading is expected to pick up Friday when the U.S. government publishes its closely monitored nonfarm payrolls report for April.

The figures, which often set the market tone for a week or two after their release, may have a big impact as they come in the wake of significantly lower than expected U.S. economic growth in the first quarter and the Fed's ongoing reduction in its monetary stimulus.

Thursday's manufacturing survey from the Institute for Supply Management echoed other findings showing that the U.S. economy rebounded strongly in March and April. Most economists expect Friday's payrolls data to be solid too, with around 220,000 jobs created during April.

"With most of Europe and Asia on holiday, and April payrolls looming, markets have inevitably been relatively quiet," said Adam Cole, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

The mood was similarly subdued elsewhere, with the euro flat at $1.3866 and the dollar up 0.1 percent at 102.33 yen. In the oil markets, a barrel of benchmark crude was down 33 cents at $99.41.

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