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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Finn Markka Debuts on EU Money Grid

LONDON -- Major European stock markets consolidated recent gains Monday, while the Finnish markka slipped smoothly into the European Union's currency grid.


The London stock market edged to a new record close in modest turnover, and Wall Street extended Friday's revival in quiet trading.


The Dow Jones industrial average of U.S. blue-chip shares, a key influence on European markets, broke back above 6,000, but trading was limited, with U.S. bond markets closed for the Columbus Day holiday.


Oil prices advanced, shrugging off last week's sharp fall amid renewed concern over winter heating oil supplies and tension in the Middle East. London November futures for North Sea Brent crude were up 60 cents at $24.58 a barrel in late afternoon trade.


EU finance ministers welcomed the markka's calm debut in the Exchange Rate Mechanism, which limits the fluctuations of most EU currencies against each other. But they were cautious about a quick return to the grid for the next candidate in line, the Italian lira.


After a finance ministers' meeting in Luxembourg, French Finance Minister Jean Arthuis said the EU should not be too hasty in bringing the lira back into the ERM.


With European currency news taking the spotlight and the U.S. holiday limiting activity, the dollar slipped a little, although it was supported on any dips. The pound hit 2.4192 marks, its highest since January 1995, but eased back later.


?In Asia, it was a day of record highs and lows for several markets.


Lingering sentiment from Wall Street's rally Friday helped push Hong Kong and Australia markets to record highs.


But Thai shares fell to a 39-month low, and Singapore swung to an 18-month low on domestic concerns. Tokyo finished slightly up and most other Asian markets were mixed.


Hong Kong's market took its lead from Friday's rise in U.S. stocks and bonds and investors continued to look for gains. The Hang Seng index closed 111.95 points or 0.92 percent higher at 12,330.35. The previous record close was set last Wednesday at 12,250.57.


Tokyo stocks managed to claw back into positive territory by the close, but turnover tumbled to a new low for the year, brokers said.