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AAP

2012-12-06

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - Stocks were higher on Wall Street as gains for financial companies and optimism about the Chinese economy offset news that US business added fewer jobs last month.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 116.56 points to 13,068.34 heading into the final hour of trade.

The Standard and Poor's 500 was up 5.8 points to 1,412.80. The Nasdaq composite was down 13.72 points to 2,982.97, held back by Apple.

Citigroup shares jumped after the bank said it plans to eliminate more than 11,000 jobs, or about four per cent of its workforce, to cut expenses and improve efficiency.

Apple was among the decliners, in part due to comments from AT&T Mobility chief executive officer Ralph de La Vega, which suggested that smartphone activations this quarter were lagging the same period a year ago.

A Chinese government pledge to maintain policies intended to strengthen the world's second-largest economy helped raise optimism about global growth.

But a private survey showed that US businesses added fewer workers in November, in part because Superstorm Sandy shut down factories, retail stores, and other companies.

LONDON - European stock markets have risen, unruffled by grim news on the eurozone and British economies.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies closed up 0.39 per cent to 5,892.08 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.26 per cent to 7,454.55 points, and in Paris the CAC 40 climbed 0.28 per cent to 3,590.50 points.

In London, Britain's finance minister George Osborne updated his budget plans and released revised government growth and debt forecasts.

He warned that the economy was expected to contract by 0.1 per cent this year owing to "deep-seated problems at home and abroad" before growing again in 2013, and added that deep austerity measures would be extended by a year to 2017-18.

Meanwhile, the eurozone Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a leading indicator compiled by the London-based Markit research firm, showed a upwardly revised score of 46.5 points for November.

Markit said the figure suggested the eurozone might be past the worst of its economic downturn, although recession was likely to continue into the beginning of next year.

Data from the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat showed retail sales fell by 1.2 per cent in October from September, the third straight monthly decline and the largest since April.

Retail sales fell by 3.6 per cent compared with October 2011, marking the largest year-to-year drop since May 2009.

HONG KONG - Asian markets rose on hopes for progress in talks in Washington aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff, while Chinese shares surged as they bounced back from four-year lows.

Data showing Australian growth remained buoyant provided some support, while the dollar and euro remained on a high against the yen on expectations of new monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.

Tokyo on Wednesday ended 0.39 per cent, or 36.38 points, up at 9,468.84 and Seoul climbed 0.61 per cent, or 11.86 points, to 1,947.05.

Hong Kong added 2.16 per cent, or 470.94 points, to end at 22,270.91, while Shanghai surged 2.87 per cent, or 56.77 points, to 2,031.91 after this week hitting its lowest level since January 2009.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares fell, led by OceanaGold, after the gold miner sold shares at a discount to repay debt.

The NZX 50 Index fell 8.44 points, or 0.2 per cent, to a two-week low close of 4,007.24.