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AAP

2012-12-05

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - Wall Street stocks were relatively steady in afternoon trading as budget talks continued in Washington.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.44 points to 12,967.04 heading into the final hour of trade.

The Standard and Poor's 500 was down 1.93 points at 1,407.53 and the Nasdaq composite was down 8.15 points at 2,994.05.

Investors are waiting on developments from Washington in the budget talks aimed at avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff, a series of sharp government spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to start in January unless an agreement is reached to cut the budget deficit.

Economists say the measures, if implemented, could push the US into recession.

LONDON - Europe's main stock markets were largely unchanged after reversing earlier gains because EU ministers ended talks in Brussels without reaching a deal on a European-wide banking union.

Sentiment early in the session had been boosted by a Greek debt buyback program and the approval by eurozone finance ministers of a bailout for Spain's troubled banks.

But at the close, London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies had slipped 0.08 per cent lower to 5,869.04 points, on the eve of the British government's budget update and latest economic growth forecast.

In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 was virtually unchanged at 7,435.21 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 added 0.39 per cent to 3580.48 points.

Finance ministers from the 27-member European Union met on Tuesday to discuss policing the banking sector more effectively from September 2013 to prevent another global financial crisis.

After nearly four hours of talks, ministers said more time was needed and called for a fresh gathering next week.

HONG KONG - Asian markets were mixed following weak US manufacturing data and fears over US talks aimed at averting its budget crisis known as the fiscal cliff.

Tokyo fell 0.27 per cent, or 25.72 points, to 9,432.46 and Seoul lost 0.25 per cent, or 4.84 points, to close at 1,935.18.

Hong Kong was 0.15 per cent higher, adding 32.12 points to end at 21,799.97 while Shanghai was up 0.78 per cent, or 15.37 points, at 1,975.14.

Both markets rebounded after posting heavy losses the previous day.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares fell for a second day, retreating from a five-year high as Chorus extended its slide on concerns about price regulation and Xero fell from a record high.

The NZX 50 Index dropped 33.4 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,015.69.