Earnigns season kicks off later this week with reports from JPMorgan Chase, among others (JUSTIN SULLIVAN)

New York (AFP) – Global stocks finished mixed on Monday as markets looked ahead to key talks this week on Brexit and the start of first-quarter earnings season.

The British pound was volatile as investors weighed the risks of another Brexit-themed week, with many willing to bet money on another, perhaps long extension to proceedings, while others think a hard crash out of the EU is not off the table.

In stock trading, Frankfurt came under pressure from the get-go after poor German import and export data, and other eurozone equity markets soon followed suit.

In the United States, the Dow finished lower following a big drop in Boeing, as analysts weighed the profit hit from the 737 MAX grounding following two deadly crashes. The broad-based S&P 500 and Nasdaq mustered modest gains.

Key economic releases this week include consumer prices for March, while investors are looking ahead to earnings from JPMorgan Chase that will kick off the first-quarter reporting season.

Expectations for earnings are low, a dynamic that some analysts think could boost stocks if companies outperform. CFRA Research projects companies in the S&P 500 will report a 2.7 percent fall in operating earnings-per-share.

“We have a low bar for earnings,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist of TD Ameritrade.

“It is widely accepted that earnings will be soft for the first quarter, but investors are betting that the forward-looking statements will be good.”

– Mixed day for Sterling –

Sterling, meanwhile, rose against the dollar but fell against the euro as British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday started a last-minute flurry of European diplomacy that includes visits to Paris and Berlin as she tries to win support for an extension to Brexit.

Faced with political deadlock in London, the EU agreed last month to postpone Brexit from March 29 to April 12, and May will ask at a special summit on Wednesday for it to be pushed back again to June 30.

“With the UK government asking for another extension… the most likely outcome seems to be that this will be granted by the other 27 EU members but the chances of a no-deal are creeping higher,” said David Cheetham, an analyst at XTB.

Also on Wednesday, the European Central Bank is set for a monetary policy announcement. The euro advanced Monday on speculation that ECB Chief Mario Draghi will not signal additional action to propel the economy beyond the current mix of policies.

“The euro could bounce higher if Mr. Draghi signals that its current policy prescriptions of rock bottom interest rates are enough to spur an economic rebound in the months ahead,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

In commodities, oil prices extended last week’s gains as an escalation of unrest in crude-rich Libya raised the prospect of a further tightening of supplies.

– Key figures around 2040 GMT –

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 26,341.02 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 2,895.77 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.2 percent at 7,953.88 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,451.89 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 percent at 11,963.40 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 5,471.78 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 21,761.65 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 30,077.15 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,244.81 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,438.06 (close)

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3065 from $1.3038 at 2100 GMT on Friday

Euro/pound: UP at 86.19 pence from 86.04 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1261 from $1.1216

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.49 yen from 111.73 yen

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 76 cents at $71.10 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.32 at $64.40 per barrel

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Disclaimer: Validity of the above story is for 7 Days from original date of publishing. Source: AFP.