Global markets: equities markets limp to finish line after volatile week
By Trevor Hunnicutt NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global investors gravitated toward safe-haven assets on Friday as worries about the world economy persisted, cutting short a two-day rebound in Wall Street stocks.
By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global investors gravitated toward safe-haven assets on Friday as worries about the world economy persisted, cutting short a two-day rebound in Wall Street stocks.
U.S. stock indexes seesawed, making it difficult to end one of the most brutal December selloffs in memory on a high note.
"Markets will likely remain treacherous in the New Year," Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex LLC, told clients.
After flirting with strong gains in the afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> ended down 76.42 points, or 0.33 percent, to 23,062.4, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 3.09 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,485.74 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 5.03 points, or 0.08 percent, to end at 6,584.52. [.N]
MSCI's index of global equities <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.57 percent to bring the global benchmark to a weekly advance near 2 percent.
Markets swung wildly in a week shortened by the Christmas holiday, starting with Wall Street's worst-ever Christmas Eve drop, pushing the S&P 500 to within a whisker of bear market territory.
But efforts at a late Santa Claus rally failed to salve investors after a year that brought gains for very few categories of financial assets, from stocks to bonds and commodities. The global MSCI index, the S&P 500, the Dow and the Nasdaq are each headed for their worst years since the 2008 financial crisis.
GRAPHIC-Global markets in 2018: https://tmsnrt.rs/2R8CUd7
The dollar index <.DXY> dipped 0.14 percent, with the euro
That has boosted gold, a traditional safe haven whose appeal this year was hit by a stronger dollar, which makes the yellow metal more expensive to buyers with other currencies. Gold
The steady drumbeat of disappointing economic data reinforced caution, including Japan's slowing industrial output and retail sales, declining German inflation and U.S. data for November showing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell unexpectedly in the latest sign of housing market weakness.
Breaking with the bad news, the Chicago Purchasing Management Index came in ahead of consensus.
Chris Bailey, a strategist at brokerage Raymond James Financial Inc, said dollar weakness was good news for non-U.S. assets.
"If we get the transmission mechanism of a lower dollar, stocks outside the U.S. are set up for a good 2019," Bailey said. "Once people get their heads around the fact the U.S. is not going to have yet another double-digit return year in 2019, you can look elsewhere."
That would be a relief to world markets that largely underperformed the United States in 2018.
Bonds have also been helped in recent weeks by risk aversion. U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury notes
Oil prices lifted a bit off two-year lows after a near 40 percent decline this quarter with U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude
The Energy Information Administration reported U.S. crude stocks
(Additional reporting by Julien Ponthus, Sujata Rao, Saikat Chatterjee and Helen Reid in London; editing by Dan Grebler and G Crosse)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.