U.S. Markets

U.S. stocks ended narrowly mixed on Monday as investors appeared to be underwhelmed by President Obama’s budget proposal, while unrest in the Middle East has spread to Iran and even Bahrain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 5.07 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 12,268.19 The S&P 500 index edged up 3.17 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,332.32. The Nasdaq composite gained 7.74 points, or 0.28 percent, to 2,817.18.

Obama’s proposed $3.73 trillion budget for the next fiscal year will cut the nation's long-term deficit by about $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) dropped 1.60 percent after JPMorgan downgraded the retail giant, citing that Wal-Mart may risk losing low-income customers who head to discount stores, while more affluent other shoppers go back to more expensive stores.

The euro declined 0.02 percent to 1.3487 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.01 percent against the greenback. Crude oil futures gained 0.18 percent to $84.96/barrel and gold futures fell 0.21 percent.

European Markets

European stocks ended mostly higher on Monday, led by gains from Credit Suisse Group AG after the Swiss bank entered a deal to strengthen its capital, while Nokia Corp. shares declined again.

The Stoxx 600 advanced 0.4 percent to 289.11 and DAX30 up by 25.43 points gained 0.34 percent to 7,396.63, while the FTSE 100 ended down 0.05 percent at 6,060.09 points and the CAC 40 was down by 0.11 per cent at 4,096.62.

Shares of Credit Suisse climbed 1.9 percent to 42.40 Swiss francs after the bank said it plans to issue around $6.2 billion of contingent convertible bonds. Nokia Oyj plunged 5.3 percent to 6.63 euros after the company stock was downgraded to “underweight” rating from “overweight” rating at JP Morgan and to “underweight” rating from “neutral” rating at HSBC Securities.

Asian Markets

Asian stocks rallied on Monday as better-than-expected exports data from China and eased geopolitical concerns in Egypt buoyed sentiment.

Tokyo shares advanced despite data showing Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate fell 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 on annual basis, recording its first contraction in five quarters. Japanese benchmark index Nikkei rose 1.13 percent or 119.89 points to 10,725.54.

The GDP fell 0.3 percent in the October-December period last year compared with the previous quarter. According to a Kyodo News survey, the economy was expected to decline 2.2 percent in the last quarter year-on-year and 0.6 percent on quarterly basis.

China's shares climbed for a third consecutive session, sending the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index to its highest point in almost two months amid market talk January inflation data, due Tuesday, may come in below expectations.

Meanwhile, China’s trade surplus fell 53.5 percent to $6.45 billion in January, as both exports and imports increased sharply ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in the country. Exports from the country rose 37.7 per cent to $150.73 billion in January compared with the month a year earlier, imports jumped 51 per cent to $144.28 billion.

Shanghai composite surged 2.53 percent or 71.64 points to 2898.97. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.28 percent or 292.14 points to
23,121.06.