International markets roundup
Market watch top headlines
A roundup of trading on major world markets:
NEW YORK - US stocks zig-zagged around the break-even line in volatile trade before ending slightly lower, pulled down in part by Walmart's disappointing earnings.
The giant global retailer sank 3.7 per cent after its quarterly revenues fell below expectations and it said it was investigating possible corruption in its operations in India, China and Brazil.
At the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 28.49 points (0.23 per cent) at 112,542.46.
The broad-market S&P 500 lost 2.16 (0.16 per cent) at 1,353.33, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slipped 9.87 (0.35 per cent) to 2,836.94.
LONDON - Europe's main stock markets retreated after news the 17-nation eurozone economy fell into recession in the third quarter as a result of the region's sovereign debt crisis.
In Frankfurt the DAX 30 closed down 0.82 per cent to 7,043.42 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.52 per cent to 3,382.40 points.
London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies dropped 0.77 per cent to 5,677.75 points, hit also by worse-than-expected British retail sales.
The euro rose to $1.2779 from $1.2734 late in New York on Wednesday.
HONG KONG - Asian markets were mostly lower after Barack Obama challenged Republicans to accept tax hikes for the rich as part of a deal to avert a fiscal cliff.
Japan's Nikkei surged thanks to a weakening yen after the leader of the country's opposition vowed unlimited monetary easing to kickstart the economy if, as expected, he wins a general election slated for next month.
A close eye was also being kept on Beijing, where China unveiled its leaders for the next 10 years, with investors hoping for some clarity on future policy in the world's number two economy.
Sydney shed 0.89 per cent, or 39.2 points, to 4,349.2, and Seoul slumped 1.23 per cent, or 23.32 points, to 1,870.72.
But Tokyo climbed 1.90 per cent, or 164.99 points, to 8,829.72.
Hong Kong fell 1.55 per cent, or 333.06 points, to 21,108.93, while Shanghai lost 1.22 per cent, or 25.13 points, at 2,030.29, as investors bet the new-look Chinese leadership unveiled earlier in the day was unlikely to embark on any economy-boosting measures any time soon.
WELLINGTON - The NZX 50 Index fell 4.05 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 3951.50.