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AAP

2012-11-19

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - US stocks snapped a three-day losing streak on Friday after political leaders signalled a determination to compromise to avoid sending the economy over the fiscal cliff.

Shares opened lower but took a jump upwards as the White House opened talks with congressional leaders on closing the deficit and averting the harsh tax hikes and spending cuts slated for January 1.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 45.93 points (0.37 per cent) at 12,588.31.

The broad-market S&P 500 added 6.55 points (0.48 per cent) at 1,359.88, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite shed 16.19 (0.57 per cent) at 2,853.13.

President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders from the Democratic and Republican parties to open crunch talks on pulling back from the fiscal cliff, with both sides stressing a willingness to find common ground and craft a long-term deficit reduction plan.

LONDON - European stock market indices dropped as investors focused on US budget talks to avert a fiscal crisis that could see hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts tip the world's biggest economy into recession.

Heightened tensions in the Middle East undermined sentiment further, traders said.

At the close of trading on Friday, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies had given up 1.27 per cent to 5,605.59 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 index slid 1.32 per cent to 6,950.53 points, the first time it has closed below 7,000 points since September 5.

In Paris the CAC 40 dropped 1.21 per cent to 3,341.52.

The euro weakened to $US1.2714 from $US1.2778 late in New York on Thursday.

HONG KONG - Asian markets were mixed as eurozone and US fiscal woes continued to dent confidence, but Tokyo posted strong gains for a second straight session as the yen weakened further.

Tokyo surged 2.20 per cent by the close, adding 194.44 points to 9,024.16, Seoul was 0.53 per cent lower, or 9.89 points, at 1,860.83, while Sydney closed down 0.29 per cent, or 12.45 points, at 4,336.8.

Hong Kong stocks climbed 0.30 per cent after suffering a big loss on Thursday, as Shanghai shed 0.25 per cent in afternoon trade.

WELLINGTON - The NZX 50 Index fell 3.66 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 3947.84.