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AAP

2012-11-21

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - US stocks opened lower after Hewlett-Packard reported a quarterly loss due in part to a massive writedown, offsetting fresh data signalling recovery in the housing market.

After a triple-digit gain on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 52.60 points (0.41 per cent) to 12,743.36 in the first 15 minutes of trade.

The S&P 500-stock index dropped 4.17 points (0.30 per cent) to 1382.72, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slipped 6.21 (0.21 per cent) to 2909.86.

LONDON - European stock markets rose as solid US housing data outweighs Moody's stripping France of its coveted triple-A rating.

The Paris CAC 40 index shook off early lows and rallied to close 0.65 per cent higher at 3462.06 points even as Moody's cut the country's bond rating by one notch to AA1, citing structural weaknesses in the French economy, slow reform, and French exposure to troubled eurozone countries.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies gained 0.18 per cent to 5748.1 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.69 per cent to 7172.9 points.

The euro eased to $US1.2815 from $US1.2816 late in New York on Monday.

HONG KONG - Asian markets were mixed as confidence that US politicians will agree a deal to avert a fiscal cliff was offset by profit-taking following a recent strong rally.

The decision by Moody's to downgrade French debt staunched a rise in the euro early on but it picked up in the afternoon, stoked by hopes that eurozone leaders will agree to hand Greece its latest batch of bailout cash.

Tokyo, which has risen about five per cent in the past three sessions, ended the day 0.12 per cent lower on profit-taking and after the Bank of Japan held off any new monetary easing measures following a policy meeting.

The Nikkei shed 10.56 points to 9,142.64.

Sydney finished 0.56 per cent, or 24.3 points, higher at 4,385.7 while Seoul was up 0.64 per cent, or 12.08 points, to close at 1,890.18.

Hong Kong fell 0.16 per cent, or 33.78 points, to 21,228.28, while Shanghai eased 0.40 per cent, or 8.06 points, to 2,008.92.

WELLINGTON - The NZX 50 Index rose 30.37 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 3972.97.