Scoreboard: Scottish scare

European markets came under pressure on the prospect of Scotland splitting from Britain, while major currencies fell against the greenback.

In US economic data, consumer credit rose by $26.01 billion in July -- the biggest rise since November 2011 and well ahead of expectations of $17.3bn.

European shares were mixed on Monday as the uncertainty about the Ukrainian ceasefire and concerns over Scotland's independence referendum weighed on markets. The German market managed to hold up after a record trade surplus of €22.2bn in July, which suggested that Europe's largest economy could bounce back in the third quarter after contracting in the June quarter. The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell by 0.4 per cent with the German Dax up by 0.1 per cent while the UK FTSE lost 0.3 per cent. Australia's major miners were lower in London trade with shares in BHP Billiton down by 0.3 per cent while Rio Tinto lost 0.2 per cent.

US sharemarkets ended mostly weaker on Monday, dragged down by declines in energy shares. The Nasdaq managed to eke out modest gains led by Microsoft and Yahoo as Alibaba's investor roadshow began. Yahoo has a 22.4 per cent stake in Alibaba. The Dow Jones index settled down by almost 26 points or 0.2 per cent. The broader S&P 500 index fell by 0.3 per cent while the Nasdaq rose by 9 points or 0.2 per cent. 

US treasury prices rose on Monday (yields lower) on doubts about the strength of the Ukraine and Russian ceasefire. US two-year yields rose by two points to 0.53 per cent while US 10-year yields rose by 1 point to 2.47 per cent.

Major currencies fell against the US dollar over the European and US sessions on Monday. The euro fell from highs near $US1.2960 to about $US1.2890, before ending US trade near $US1.2900. The Australian dollar fell from highs near US93.65c to lows just below US92.75c before ending the US session near US92.80c. And the Japanese yen weakened from ¥105.05 per US dollar to ¥106.10, ending US trade near ¥106.00.

World oil prices eased on Monday in response to the weaker-than-expected Chinese and US economic data. Brent crude fell below $US100 intraday, for the first time in more than a year, before closing down US58c or 0.6 per cent to $US100.24 a barrel with the US Nymex price down by US63c a barrel to $US92.66 a barrel.

Base metal prices were mixed on Monday. Nickel recorded the largest gains lifting by 1.8 per cent to a two-month highs, with concerns Philippines is one step closer to ban Nickel ore exports. Gold prices fell on Monday with the Comex gold futures quote down by $US13 or 1 per cent to $US1,254.30 per ounce. Iron ore prices were unchanged at $US83.60 a tonne.

Ahead: In Australia, housing finance and NAB business survey are released. In the US, no major economic data is released.

Craig James is chief economist at Commsec.

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