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Morning Bid: China fails to cheer, as France scores own goal

Central business district in Beijing

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Wayne Cole.

A muted start to the week in Asia with Chinese data too mixed to provide much momentum as political uncertainty in Europe lurks in the background.

At least Chinese retail sales topped forecasts with a rise of 3.7% on the year, likely boosted by the May holidays, but industrial output and fixed-asset investment both underwhelmed.

Also worrying was data showing home prices fell at the fastest pace in a decade in May, highlighting the continued strains in the property sector.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) kept its one-year rate unchanged, dashing some speculation of a cut following surprisingly soft bank lending data. China's official Financial News on Monday reported there was still room to lower rates, but there were internal and external constraints on policy.

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EUROSTOXX 50 futures did bounce 0.5% after last week's drubbing, but the fallout of the snap French election kept the euro pinned at $1.0700.

It was notable that no less than five European Central Bank sources stressed to Reuters that the institution was not planning any emergency buying of French bonds, knowing the market will be pushing for exactly that.

The howls for help will only get louder should the spread of French bond yields over bunds widen to 100 basis points, which seems inevitable.

The pressure was also acute against the safe-haven Swiss franc, where the euro was just off a four-month low at 0.9528 francs.

It has now shed 4% in just three weeks and has investors wagering the Swiss National Bank (SNB) will be forced to cut rates at its meeting on Thursday. Futures imply a 74% chance of a cut to 1.25%, up from 40% a week ago.

At least there's the football to offer a distraction.

Key developments that could influence markets on Monday:

- ECB President Christine Lagarde visits company Pasqal in France. ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos speaks, along with ECB chief economist Lane

- Fed June Empire State survey

- NY Fed President John Williams speaks, as well as Fed's Harker and Cook

(By Wayne Cole; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)