International markets roundup
Market watch top headlines
A roundup of trading on major world markets:
NEW YORK - Wall Street wobbled between small gains and losses in afternoon trading Thursday.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13 points at 13,047 heading into the final hour of trade.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points to 1,411 and the Nasdaq composite climbed 11 points to 2,984.
Apple rose a day after taking its worst fall in four years.
In separate interviews, CEO Tim Cook said Apple will produce one of its Mac computers in the United States next year and will spend $100 million in 2013 to shift production of the line from China.
Investors' biggest concern remains the collection of automatic tax increases and federal spending cuts scheduled to start January 1.
President Barack Obama said the White House and Republicans could reach an agreement "in about a week" if the Republicans drop their opposition to raising taxes on making more than $250,000 a year.
Most investors believe Obama and Congressional Republicans will strike a budget deal to avoid this "fiscal cliff" before the year is out.
Until they reach an agreement, however, the stock market will likely be hostage to news out of Washington.
The US Labor Department said unemployment benefits applications dropped 25,000 last week to 370,000, a level consistent with modest hiring.
The decline was also a sign that the spike in applications caused by Superstorm Sandy has faded.
The report comes a day before the government releases its closely watched jobs survey.
LONDON - European stock markets held on to gains but the euro has turned sharply lower after the European Central Bank (ECB) said a decision to leave its key rate unchanged was not unanimous.
Traders had largely expected the ECB to hold fire on interest rates at its last policy meeting of 2012, but the revelation by ECB head Mario Draghi that some members of the governing council supported a rate cut was enough for markets to take pause though milestones were still hit in Germany and France.
In Britain, the Bank of England also froze its record-low interest rate in a widely expected move one day after the British government extended austerity measures and slashed growth forecasts.
London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies edged up by 0.16 per cent to 5,901.42 points while in Frankfurt, the DAX 30 rallied 1.07 per cent to its highest level since January 2008 at 7,534.54 points and in Paris the CAC 40 finished at a year high, up 0.31 per cent to 3,601.65 points.
HONG KONG - Asian markets were mixed following a broadly positive lead from Wall Street, with traders monitoring talks in the United States aimed at averting the fiscal cliff.
The yen remained under pressure on expectations of monetary easing by the central bank, providing a fillip to Japanese equities.
Tokyo ended up 0.81 per cent, or 76.32 points, to 9,545.16 and Seoul gained 0.13 per cent, or 2.58 points, to 1,949.62.
Hong Kong ended flat, dipping 21.10 points to end at 22,249.81.
Shanghai shares lost 0.13 per cent, or 2.67 points, to 2,029.24 - the index surged almost three per cent on Wednesday after hitting a near four-year low earlier in the week.
WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares rose, snapping a three-day slide as equity markets across the Asia-Pacific region generally gained.
Xero resumed its climb after two US funds gave the company equity capital and Chorus clawed back from its regulator-induced plunge.
The NZX 50 Index rose 16.11 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4023.36.