World stocks mostly lower with Wall Street on holiday

World stocks finished mostly lower Monday amid worries that the economic recovery in the United States will slow down, with trading light as Wall Street remained closed for the Independence Day weekend.

A disappointing jobs report from the United States on Friday suggested the world’s largest economy is sputtering, while other figures indicate China — which showed strong growth during the recent years of financial and economic turmoil — could also slow down.

European markets found some support during the session in a report showing retail sales in the region rose modestly in May, but indexes ended slightly lower. The British FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX both finished down 0.3 percent at 4,823.53 and 5,816.20, respectively. France’s CAC-40 was down about 0.5 percent at 3,332.46.

Asian markets were mixed at the close, with the Shanghai index down but Japan’s Nikkei up.

 

IMF urges Cyprus to take bold action to cut deficit

The International Monetary Fund on Monday projected a return to positive growth for Cyprus next year, but urged bold action to reign in a burgeoning fiscal deficit that could threaten the Mediterranean island’s economic recovery.

In a routine assessment of the Cypriot economy, the IMF said the country urgently needs to roll back a growing public-sector wage bill that is driving the deficit even deeper.

Cyprus’ deficit now stands at 6 percent of economic output. But Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis has said that if left unchecked, the deficit would balloon to 10 percent in three years.

Stavrakis in April unveiled a string of measures aimed at shrinking the public sector and cracking down on tax evasion. The measures include losing 4,000 government jobs in the next three years.

 

Mercedes-Benz sales rise 13.2 percent for past year

Sales of Mercedes-Benz cars were up 13.2 percent in the year ending in June as strong demand for the premium brand in China and the United States helped drive growth, parent company Daimler AG said Monday.

Mercedes-Benz sold 113,300 cars worldwide last month, making it the best June performance in its history, Daimler said.

Sales in China were up 177 percent last month to 13,700 cars, U.S. sales were up 20.5 percent to 18,300, and sales in Japan gained 26.5 percent compared with June last year to reach 3,400.

There also was strong growth in Brazil, Russia and India; Daimler reported sales increases of more than 70 percent in all three of the emerging markets. However, sales in Western Europe were down 3.6 percent at 58,100.

 

Oil prices edge above $72 to end string of declines

Oil prices hovered above $72 a barrel Monday as investors worried about a weak U.S. economic recovery.

early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for August delivery was up 10 cents to $72.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 81 cents to settle at $72.14 on Friday.

Oil prices fell the previous six trading sessions and dropped almost 10 percent last quarter amid ongoing fears about Europe’s financial crisis and slowing economic growth.

“The balance of crude-oil price risks appears skewed toward the downside” because of “negative demand shocks from a sluggish economic recovery,” ANZ bank said in a report. ANZ said it expects crude to trade between $65 a barrel and $75 this month.

In other Nymex trading in August contracts, heating oil rose 1.17 cents to $1.9272 a gallon, gasoline added 0.78 cents to $1.9855 a gallon, and natural gas gained 4.2 cents to $4.729 per 1,000 cubic feet.