(Alliance News) - London's FTSE 100 is called to open lower on Monday, as focus moves to a US inflation reading scheduled for Tuesday.

IG says futures indicate the FTSE 100 to open 24.2 points lower, 0.3%, at 7,635.54 on Monday. The index of London large-caps ended down 32.72 points, 0.4%, at 7,659.74 on Friday. It lost 0.3% over the course of last week.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 slumped 2.2%, while in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 gave back 1.8%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was 0.5% higher in late dealings, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng shot up 1.4%.

Among those to end lower in Tokyo was SoftBank Group, giving back a hefty 6.0%. The stock is still up almost 30% so far this year, however. The wider Nikkei 225 had topped the 40,000 point level for the first time a week ago.

Helping lift the mood in China, consumer prices rose in February for the first time since August, data showed Saturday, bucking a months-long stretch of deflation that compounded the country's myriad economic woes.

Official statistics Saturday showed the consumer price index rose 0.7% on-year last month, according to Beijing's National Bureau of Statistics – the first increase since August.

The figure was higher than a 0.3% rise analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected and a sharp increase on the 0.8 fall seen in January, their sharpest drop in more than 14 years.

China's leaders on Monday wrap up a week-long key conclave at which they admitted more was needed to revive a sluggish economy battered by an ailing housing market, poor domestic demand and record high youth unemployment figures.

But details of how they plan to tackle the problems have been scant. They have also simultaneously moved to deepen powers to deal with threats to their rule and tightened a veil of secrecy around policymaking, scrapping a traditional annual press conference and vowing to include national security provisions into a raft of new laws.

In New York on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%, the S&P 500 lost 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite slumped 1.2%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 275,000 in February, picking up speed from a 229,000 increase in January. January's figure was downwardly revised by some degree from an initially reported 353,000. December's figure, meanwhile, was lowered to 290,000 from 333,000.

In total, nonfarm payrolls for December and January were in total 167,000 lower than previously reported.

For February, the figure topped the FXStreet-cited consensus of 200,000.

SPI Asset Management analyst Stephen Innes commented: "Perhaps the post-NFP market downswing was due to bullish investors anticipating a report that might prompt faster interest-rate cuts. Indeed, there was a lot of hype around alternative employment measures that pointed to a sub-150 headline print; it's conceivable that traders were banking on a lower-than-consensus number.

"So, with no joy on the headline front, the street quickly pivoted to more pressing concerns about the upcoming US inflation report. And rightly so, as favourable price trends could be crucial to sustain the broader rally wagon momentum. Nevertheless, achieving the coveted 2% inflation target will likely be a fickle final mile, which might limit, if not continue, to create downward pressure on the global index to start the week."

The pound was quoted at USD1.2852 early Monday, down slightly from USD1.2860 at the London equities close Friday. The euro stood at USD1.0939, down from USD1.0949. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY146.95, falling from JPY147.21.

Japan's economy avoided slipping into a technical recession at the end of 2023, official data on Monday showed.

According to the Cabinet Office, Japan's gross domestic product is estimated to have expanded by 0.1% in the final quarter of 2024 from the third quarter. This compared to an initial estimate of a 0.1% contraction.

However, FXStreet-cited market consensus had expected a stronger revision to 0.3% growth.

In the third quarter, the Japanese economy shrank 0.8%. The new estimate for the final quarter of 2023 indicates Japan managed to avoid a technical recession, which is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.

On Monday's UK corporate calendar, HgCapital Trust releases annual results.

Brent oil was quoted at USD81.68 a barrel early Monday, down from USD81.72 on Friday. Gold rose to USD2,176.73 an ounce, from USD2,174.74.

By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor

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