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AAP

2013-02-01

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - Facebook shares have fallen nearly six per cent on opening, leading the markets lower in starting trade also hit by poor earnings from Dow Chemical.

Six minutes into trade on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 27.41 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 13,883.01.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 9.5 points, or 0.63 per cent, to 1,498.34.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2.05 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 3,140.26.

LONDON - European stock markets fell as dealers fretted over the shrinking US economy and a flood of company earnings news, with Madrid hit hard by poor results from eurozone banking giant Santander.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies closed down 0.73 per cent to 6,276.88 points as investors also digested earnings from a host of British companies, including energy major Royal Dutch Shell and brewer Diageo.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 gave up 0.45 per cent to 7,776.05 points, and in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.87 per cent to 3,732.60 points.

Investors were surprised by the US Commerce Department figures showing the world's biggest economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 per cent in the October-December quarter. Forecasts had been for a 1.0 per cent rise.

Meanwhile, Milan's FTSE Mib shares index rebounded 0.86 per cent to 17,439 points, having slumped by 3.36 per cent on Wednesday on concerns over Italy's banking and energy sectors.

The euro rose to $US1.3582 compared with $US1.3564 in New York late on Wednesday, when it had struck a 14-month peak at $US1.3587.

HONG KONG - Asian markets closed mixed, with late buying offsetting earlier falls that had been fuelled by losses on Wall Street as US data showed the economy shrank in the final three months of 2012.

Tokyo rose 0.22 per cent, or 24.71 points, to 11,138.66 and Shanghai added 0.12 per cent, or 2.95 points, to 2,385.42 on Thursday. But Seoul slipped 0.13 per cent, or 2.49 points, to 1,961.94 and Sydney lost 0.37 per cent, or 17.9 points, to 4,878.8.

Hong Kong shed 0.39 per cent, or 92.53 points, to 23,729.53.

WELLINGTON - The NZX 50 Index rose 5.101 points, or 0.12 per cent to 4,252.647, its highest since late since late October 2007.