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European markets hold their own despite ongoing Greek unease

LONDON (AP) — European stock markets eked out some gains Monday despite ongoing uncertainty over Greece’s bailout discussion with creditors. A strong performance on Shanghai’s recently volatile benchmark helped shore up sentiment.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.4 percent to 11,465 while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.7 percent at 5,042. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.1 percent higher at 6,992. U.S. shares were poised for a fairly flat open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.

GREECE UNCERTAINTY: Greece remains one of the key concerns surrounding the global economy as the country struggles to convince its creditors in Europe and the International Monetary Fund it has a reform strategy in place to get its hands on much-needed bailout cash. For months, talks between the two sides have achieved little and with a payment due to the IMF this Friday, tensions remain high. One suggestion is that Greece could roll all its IMF payments due this month into one, giving it more time to secure a deal to get the 7.2 billion euros ($7.9 billion) remaining in its bailout fund.

ANALYST TAKE: “Concerns about Greece continue to hold investors back from taking on too much risk,” said Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at Forex.com. “With the lack of progress on the issue the pressure is now growing.”

CHINA SLOWDOWN: Another concern is the state of the Chinese economy, the world’s second-biggest. Two surveys released Monday showed China’s manufacturing industry, which employs many millions of people, remained weak last month, adding to pressure on Beijing to roll out more measures to keep economic growth on target. The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing’s manufacturing index showed activity stagnating. HSBC’s manufacturing index showed manufacturing contracted for a third straight month as new export business fell at the sharpest rate in two years.

US IN FOCUS TOO: The U.S. economy will also be at the forefront of investors’ thoughts this week as a raft of economic data releases culminates Friday with the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report for May. Later Monday, interest will center on the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly manufacturing survey. “We continue to look for signs that the Q1 slump in the U.S. was an aberration,” said Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG.

ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite jumped 4.7 percent to 4,828.74 after tumbling 6.5 percent on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6 percent to 27,597.16. Japan’s Nikkei 225 recovered from early losses, squeaking a smidgen higher to 20,569.87 while South Korea’s Kospi sank 0.6 percent to 2,102.37. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.7 percent to 5,735.40.

ENERGY: The futures contract for benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 65 cents to $59.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Brent crude, used to price oil sold internationally, fell 72 cents to $64.83 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: Trading in foreign exchange markets was fairly subdued with the euro up 0.2 percent at $1.0935 and the dollar flat at 124.15 yen.

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