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AAP

2013-01-31

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - US stocks were mostly lower in opening trade after government estimates showed the economy shrunk in the fourth quarter last year largely due to a cut back in government spending.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 10.95 points (0.08 per cent) to 13,943.47.

The S&P 500, a broad measure of the markets, lost 0.78 points (0.05 per cent) to 1,507.06.

But the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained slightly, adding 3.48 points (0.11 per cent) at 3,157.14, helped by a 7.5 per cent gain from Amazon.

The Commerce Department said the economy shrunk at a 0.1 per cent pace in the fourth quarter of last year, mainly due to defence spending cutbacks, but for the full year the economy expanded a modest 2.2 per cent.

LONDON - European stock markets slid while the euro gained on news the US economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter last year and on bright eurozone confidence data.

In London, the FTSE 100 index of leading companies lost 0.25 per cent to 6,323.11 points, while in Frankfurt, the DAX 30 fell 0.47 per cent to 7,811.31 points, and in Paris the CAC 40 lost 0.54 per cent to 3,765.52 points.

In Milan, the FTSE Mib index was down 3.36 per cent at 17,290 points amid investor jitters over troubled bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena and disappointing results from oil services giant Saipem.

Madrid's IBEX 35 index slid 0.82 per cent to 8,571.90 points on news that Spain's growth shrank 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, as recession tightened its grip on the eurozone's fourth-largest economy.

The euro reached $US1.3563, buoyed by upbeat confidence data, compared with $US1.3493 late on Tuesday in New York. Earlier in the session the euro reached $1.3578, its highest level since November 2011.

HONG KONG - Asian markets climbed, with Japan's Nikkei leading the way, fuelled by continuing weakness in the yen and a powerful performance on Wall Street, where the Dow closed near its record high.

Tokyo jumped 2.28 per cent, or 247.23 points, to 11,113.95, its highest finish since April 2010, and Sydney rose up 0.16 per cent, or 7.7 points, to 4,896.7. Seoul closed up 0.43 per cent, or 8.47 points, at 1,964.43.

Hong Kong stocks ended 0.71 per cent higher, adding 166.89 points to 23,822.06 and Shanghai gained 1.00 per cent, or 23.50 points, to 2,382.48.

WELLINGTON - The NZX50 Index shot up 47.25 points, or 1.12 per cent, to 4,247.546, its highest since late October 2007.