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AAP

2012-12-18

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - Stocks rose on Wall Street as investors were encouraged by signs of progress in budget talks in Washington.

Just two weeks remain before tax increases and government spending cuts take effect if no deal is reached.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 56 points at 13,191 heading into the final hour of trade.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 10 points at 1,424 and the Nasdaq composite index had added 22 points to 2,994.

In Washington, there appeared to be movement in budget talks aimed at avoiding tax increases and government spending cuts set to take effect on January 1, known as the fiscal cliff.

The market opened higher after House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, offered $US1 trillion in higher tax revenue over 10 years and an increase on the top tax rate for people making $US1 million per year, to 39.6 per cent from 35 per cent.

The market moved higher again shortly before noon when Boehner went to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama.

Apple stock rose after the company said it sold more than 2 million iPhone 5s in China in their first three days of availability, setting a record for that market.

The technology giant's stock has fallen 27 per cent since it closed at a record $702.10 in September.

LONDON - Europe's main stock markets closed with mixed results as investor concern about a looming US fiscal deadline overshadowed the election of a new Japanese leader.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading shares posted a slight loss of 0.16 per cent to 5,912.15 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 index rose by 0.11 per cent to 7,604.94 points and the Paris CAC 40 declined by 0.14 per cent to 3,638.10.

In Japan, the conservative opposition swept to victory in national polls on Sunday as former prime minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ousted Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) from power.

The new prime minister is in favour of further monetary easing, and investors believe he is likely to appoint a governor to the Bank of Japan that will deliver.

HONG KONG - Asian markets were mixed, with Japanese shares soaring and the yen tumbling after a landslide election win for the conservative opposition.

The Japanese currency on Monday hit a year-and-a-half low against the US dollar and multi-month lows versus the euro, a boon for exporters, as investors bet on more central bank easing by the country's incoming government.

Tokyo climbed 0.94 per cent, or 91.32 points, to 9,828.88.

Shanghai added 0.45 per cent, or 9.71 points, to 2,160.34 on hopes for pro-growth domestic policies from Beijing to boost the economy after a key meeting at the weekend.

Seoul shed 0.6 per cent, or 11.97 points, to 1,983.07 and Hong Kong shed 0.41 per cent, or 92.37 points, to 22,513.61.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares fell as some investors freed up funds to buy into Fairfax Media's Trade Me selldown and prepared for index changes that will add rest home operators Summerset and Metlifecare to the NZX 50.

The NZX 50 fell 12.68 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 3,966.48.