Before the Bell: Global markets mixed in wake of Chinese trade deficit

Disappointing Chinese economic data coupled with Greece's debt situation is spooking global markets on Monday.

Better-than-expected U.S. employment data from last Friday is being overshadowed by news that China's export-led economy is facing its largest trade deficit in more than a decade. China's trade deficit was US$31.48 billion for February. Meanwhile in Europe, debt woes continue to plague Greece after the International Swaps and Derivatives Association classified the country's recent debt swap deal as a "credit event", or a technical default.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index was recently flat at 265.33. London's FTSE 100 Index was 0.1 per cent lower at 5882.47, Frankfurt's DAX was up 0.1 per cent at 6884.83 and Paris's CAC-40 Index was up 0.1 per cent to 6884.83. The euro currency is presently fetching US$1.3114.

In Asia, markets are mostly lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average was the exception, up 0.3 per cent. South Korea's Kospi Composite was off 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was 0.4 per cent lower and China's Shanghai Composite was down 0.4 per cent. But India's Sensex was 0.7 per cent higher and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 finished the day down 0.4 per cent, at 4196.7.

On Wall Street, U.S. futures are pointing to a lower open. Futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq 100 fell 0.2 to 0.3 per cent. Later today, the U.S. Treasury Department will release its monthly budget for February and the Conference Board will issue its employment trend index for February.

Here at home, Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index closed higher last Friday thanks to positive U.S. employment data, up 41.69 points to 12,503.62. The TSX Venture Exchange rose 15.47 points to 1,649.81. The Canadian dollar is presently trading at 100.92¢ US.

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