"It's been a decent month and another decent quarter," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. "In fact European markets look set to be on course to post three positive quarters in a row this year, with France's CAC 40 looking set to be the best performer on that front."
With half the trading gone, the CAC 40 was up 0.2% at 5,651 while Germany's DAX rose 0.1% to 12,393. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.1% at 7,415. Wall Street was poised for modest gains at the bell with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.3%.
It's a busy week on the global data front, particularly in the U.S. It culminates on Friday with monthly nonfarm payrolls data that often set the market tone for a week or two after their release, especially at a time when the outlook for U.S. interest rates remains open for debate.
Earlier Monday, Chinese manufacturing data slightly exceeded analysts' estimates but failed to fully offset renewed concern over the trade war between the world's two largest economies. Trade war concerns will likely remain a key source of concern across financial markets for a while yet.
In Asia on Monday, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.6% to 21,755.84 and the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.9% to 2,905.19. India's Sensex declined 0.5% to 38,646.08. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5% to 26,092.27.
Hong Kong got a boost from reassuring comments by the chief executive of its monetary authority. Norman Chan Tak-lam, who is stepping down, said that despite the past several months of increasingly violent political protests, "the monetary system that means the exchange rate, the banking system and the financial system, have remained stable, and they have been continue to function normally and smoothly."
Benchmark crude oil fell 53 cents a barrel to $55.38 while Brent, the international standard, was down 87 cents at $61.04 a barrel. The euro was down 0.5% at $1.0892 while the dollar was steady at 108 yen.