International markets roundup
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A roundup of trading on major world markets:
NEW YORK - US stocks closed slightly higher on Friday after upbeat consumer confidence data shaved an edge off fears about the nation's looming "fiscal cliff".
After opening mostly lower, the stock indices crossed into positive territory after a November survey showed consumer confidence rose more than expected and hit the highest level since July 2007.
But market sentiment, battered after two days of heavy losses, was fragile and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up a mere 4.07 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 12,815.39.
The S&P 500-stock index gained 2.34 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 1,379.85, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 9.29 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 2,904.87.
"The uncertainty surrounding the 'fiscal cliff' is giving most investors pause right now," said Jim Cunningham at Schaeffer's Investment Research.
LONDON - European stock markets steadied on Friday and the euro dropped against the US dollar after a week dominated by rising concerns about the economic outlook for both the United States and the eurozone.
An upbeat consumer confidence report from the US helped stocks reverse some lost ground, but concerns about the looming "fiscal cliff" at year-end continued to weigh on sentiment.
London's FTSE 100 index of top companies dipped 0.11 per cent to 5,769.68 points at closing, and Frankfurt's DAX 30 gave up 0.58 per cent to 7,163.5 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 rose 0.47 per cent to 3,423.57 points.
Madrid's IBEX 35 index inched up 0.16 per cent to 7,636.10 points.
HONG KONG - Asian markets fell on Friday, extending their losses from the previous day as fears the United States is headed for another economic crisis sent Wall Street diving again and dealers running.
The yen remained elevated after Barack Obama's re-election as US president stoked concerns of political gridlock in Washington with a "fiscal cliff" approaching that could tip the country back into recession.
But Chinese data on Friday showing inflation at a new three-year low provided some hope, giving authorities more room to loosen monetary policy, while industrial output figures also pointed to a pick-up in the economy.
Tokyo fell 0.90 per cent, or 79.55 points, to 8,757.60 and Seoul shed 0.52 per cent, or 10.00 points, to 1,904.41.
Hong Kong lost 0.85 per cent, or 182.53 points, to 21,384.38.
Shanghai ended down 0.12 per cent, or 2.44 points, at 2,069.07, although it was well off its earlier lows thanks to the upbeat economic figures indicating China could be emerging from its growth slowdown.
WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares rose, as Telecom's relatively high dividend yields drew investors while Infratil fell after taking a charge against its UK airport investments.
The NZX 50 fell 2.66 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 3957.91.