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AAP

2013-01-21

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - The S&P 500 and the Dow hit their best levels since late 2007 on Friday, helped by news that Republicans might agree to raise the debt ceiling, but poor earnings from Intel pulled the Nasdaq lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 53.68 points (0.39 percent) to 13,649.70, its highest close since December 10, 2007.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 5.04 (0.34 percent) at 1,485.98, its highest since December 26, 2007.

But the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended down 1.29 points (0.04 percent) at 3,134.71.

Congressional Republicans moved to avert another crisis over the debt ceiling by planning a vote to extend it for three months while political leaders sort out the budget and a long term plan for government spending cuts.

LONDON - European share trading posted mixed results, with London gaining on Chinese growth data that beat expectations while Frankfurt and Paris slipped back on disappointing European and US figures.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies gained 0.36 per cent to 6,154.41, despite official data which revealed falling British retail sales in December.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index slid 0.07 per cent to 3,741.58 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 index shed 0.43 per cent to 7,702.23 points.

The euro eased to $1.3298 from $1.3375 late on Thursday in New York. On the London Bullion Market, gold prices increased to $1,688.50 an ounce from $1,675.

HONG KONG - Asian shares posted strong gains after China released data showing a better-than-expected pick-up in the economy for the past four months, while Tokyo was boosted by another fall in the yen.

Tokyo soared 2.86 per cent, or 303.66 points, to 10,913.30, Hong Kong was up 1.12 per cent, or 262.02 points, at 23,601.78 and Shanghai put on 1.41 per cent, or 32.16 points, to 2,317.07.

Seoul added 0.69 per cent, or 13.58 points, to 1,987.85 and Sydney gained 0.31 per cent, or 14.6 points, to 4,771.2.

Beijing said its economy expanded 7.8 per cent in 2012, better than the government target of 7.5 per cent, marking a second straight year of easing owing to weakness in key overseas markets.

It also said gross domestic product grew 7.9 per cent in the October-December period, snapping seven straight quarters of slowing growth.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares were sold off across the board on Friday, following a strong run earlier in the week.