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AAP

2012-12-24

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - US stocks sunk in the absence of a deal to avert the looming fiscal cliff crisis just days before a deadline.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Friday's session down 120.88 points, or 0.91 per cent, at 13,190.84.

The broad-market S&P 500 fell 13.54 points, or 0.94 per cent, to 1,430.15, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite dipped 29.38 points, or 0.96 per cent, to 3,021.01.

Washington has until the end of the year to stop the US going over the so-called fiscal cliff, a mix of tax increases and spending cuts that experts say could drag the world's biggest economy into recession if they go into effect on January 1.

A Republican plan to let tax breaks expire for US millionaires collapsed late on Thursday when it failed to earn enough party support, leaving talks in limbo.

Republican leaders said they were not walking away from talks but a compromise remains elusive.

On Sunday, Senators bickered over who's to blame for the situation, bemoaning the lack of a deal days before the deadline but bridging no differences in the debate.

Concern about the fiscal cliff appeared to overshadow new, positive economic data on Friday, including a rise in consumer spending, the key driver of the US economy.

Personal spending climbed 0.4 per cent while personal income rose 0.6 per cent, the Commerce Department said.

LONDON - European stock markets sank on Friday, mirroring losses in Asia, as sentiment was rocked by unsuccessful talks to avert fiscal cliff measures that threaten to push the United States back into recession.

Traders also digested official data showing that the British economy grew by a downwardly-revised 0.9 per cent in the third quarter of the year.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies fell 0.31 per cent to 5,939.99 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 dropped 0.47 per cent to 7,636.23 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 dipped 0.15 per cent at 3,661.40 points.

Milan's FTSE Mib index regained some ground, ending the day 0.4 per cent lower to 16,223.36 points as Italian lawmakers voted on a 2013 budget that is set to trigger the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Monti.

HONG KONG - Asian markets mostly fell on Friday after Republicans scrapped a vote on putting in place a back-up plan if talks on averting the US fiscal cliff end in failure.

The news out of Washington late on Thursday cancelled out a rally on Wall Street and upbeat data on the US economy, while it also hit currency traders, who have sent the safe-haven yen higher despite more Bank of Japan monetary easing.

Tokyo fell 0.99 per cent, or 99.27 points to 9,940.06 and Seoul shed 0.95 per cent, or 19.08 points, to 1,980.42.

Hong Kong slid 0.68 per cent, or 153.49 points, to close at 22,506.29, while Shanghai lost 0.69 per cent, or 15.04 points, to end at 2,153.31.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares fell, snapping a three-day rally as further delays to fiscal cliff talks in the US weighed on equity markets across Asia.

The NZX 50 fell 20.71 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4054.74.