News Story



Euro zone manufacturing PMI 54.9 vs. 54.9 forecast


In a report, research group Markit said the euro zone’s manufacturing PMI remained unchanged at 54.9, from 54.9 in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected the euro zone’s manufacturing PMI to remain unchanged at 54.9 last month.]]> https://ca33f332e2199349c49c-dc74b5af55c9b2a1bd8891aa9e8701fc.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/news/manufacturing_5_M_1440051872.jpg

Spain’s Manufacturing PMI 55.3 vs. 54.6 forecast


In a report, Markit Finacial Information Services said that Spain’s Manufacturing PMI rose to 55.3, from 54.5 in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected Spain’s Manufacturing PMI to rise to 54.6 last month.]]> https://ca33f332e2199349c49c-dc74b5af55c9b2a1bd8891aa9e8701fc.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/news/LYNXMPEA8F0C4_M.jpg © Reuters.

Taiwan stocks higher at close of trade; Taiwan Weighted up 1.10%

– Taiwan stocks were higher after the close on Monday, as gains in the Oil, Gas&Electricity, Information Services and Cement sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Taiwan, the Taiwan Weighted gained 1.10%.

The best performers of the session on the Taiwan Weighted were Cyberlink (TW:5203), which rose 9.92% or 7.00 points to trade at 77.60 at the close. Meanwhile, Pqi (TW:6145) added 9.80% or 0.88 points to end at 9.86 and Transasia (TW:6702) was up 9.38% or 0.06 points to 0.70 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Grape King (TW:1707), which fell 9.88% or 20.50 points to trade at 187.00 at the close. Pal Wonn Taiwan Co Ltd (TW:2429) declined 4.44% or 0.75 points to end at 16.15 and Chenming Mold (TW:3013) was down 4.10% or 0.75 points to 17.55.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Taiwan Stock Exchange by 0 to 0.

Shares in Cyberlink (TW:5203) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 9.92% or 7.00 to 77.60.

Crude oil for February delivery was unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to $53.90 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.19% or 0.11 to hit $56.74 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.53% or 6.10 to trade at $1152.00 a troy ounce.

USD/TWD was unchanged 0.00% to 32.270, while TWD/CNY unchanged 0.00% to 0.2144.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.28% at 102.37.

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Australia stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 0.58%

– Australia stocks were lower after the close on Monday, as losses in the Consumer Staples, Financials and Energy sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.58%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were St Barbara Ltd (AX:SBM), which rose 10.57% or 0.195 points to trade at 2.040 at the close. Meanwhile, Resolute Mining Ltd (AX:RSG) added 10.17% or 0.120 points to end at 1.300 and Evolution Mining Ltd (AX:EVN) was up 9.84% or 0.190 points to 2.120 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Fisher&Paykel Healthcare Ltd (AX:FPH), which fell 2.38% or 0.200 points to trade at 8.190 at the close. Western Areas Ltd (AX:WSA) declined 2.23% or 0.070 points to end at 3.070 and Blackmores Ltd (AX:BKL) was down 2.17% or 2.290 points to 103.360.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 0 to 0.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 4.92% to 12.762.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.53% or 6.10 to $1152.00 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to hit $53.90 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.19% or 0.11 to trade at $56.74 a barrel.

AUD/USD was up 0.18% to 0.7213, while AUD/JPY rose 0.11% to 84.31.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.28% at 102.37.

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U.S. intel expert says Russians 'weaponized' e-mail leaks

-- The rhetorical war between the Washington establishment, and President-elect Donald Trump, over disputed Russian hacking allegations, is heating up, with one leading Democratic intelligence expert claiming on Sunday that Moscow had "weaponized" the shameful e-mails of the Hillary Clinton campaign by leaking them to the media during last year's election campaign.

Trump had claimed in remarks to reporters on New Year's Eve that "no computer is safe" from hackers and that "hacking is a hard thing to prove." The remarks were in response to questions about the White House expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. last week over the hacking scandal.

The president-elect added, that he "knows things that other people don't know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation. You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday" after his next briefing by the CIA.

The commonsense remarks touched off an incindiary response from a leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee during a TV appearance on Sunday morning.

"They didn't just steal data; they weaponized it," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), on ABC's This Week program. "They dumped it during an election with the specific intent of influencing the outcomes of that election and sowing discord in the U.S. That's not something that China has ever done."

The e-mail messages provided insight into the Clinton team's mindset, its disdain of certain blocs of voters, and the text of many of Mrs. Clinton's speeches to Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and other investment banks on her vision for a borderless North and South America.

Most interestingly, The Washington Post picked up the "weaponizing" meme, and claimed online on Sunday that the president-elect was making it more difficult for U.S. intelligence agencies to detect hackers with his attitude and that hackers would be emboldened by his stance. The publication also claims that Trump's posture toward the Russian hacking allegations could harm U.S. national security.

The U.S. private sector, according to one recent report, is projected to spend $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021 dealing with cyberthreats, and companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), among others, earn significant revenues from cyber security software, hardware and consulting. The U.S. government budget for cyber-software is approximately $100 million per year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that the Russian government hacked the free Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) e-mail service, G-Mail, of Clinton advisor John Podesta, and has not retaliated for the Obama administration's sanctions last week for the purported shenanigans.

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Israel stocks lower at close of trade; TA 25 down 0.74%

– Israel stocks were lower after the close on Sunday, as losses in the Biomed, Technology and Insurance sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 25 declined 0.74%.

The best performers of the session on the TA 25 were Gazit Globe (TA:GZT), which rose 3.56% or 117 points to trade at 3400 at the close. Meanwhile, Mylan NV (TA:MYL) added 2.34% or 340 points to end at 14900 and Avner L (TA:AVNRp) was up 2.15% or 5.7 points to 271.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were OPKO Health Inc (TA:OPK), which fell 19.50% or 860 points to trade at 3550 at the close. First International Bank of Israel (TA:FTIN) declined 0.53% or 30 points to end at 5620 and Bezeq (TA:BEZQ) was down 0.27% or 2.0 points to 730.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 273 to 91 and 81 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.24% or 0.13 to $53.90 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.19% or 0.11 to hit $56.74 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.53% or 6.10 to trade at $1152.00 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was up 0.57% to 3.8650, while EUR/ILS rose 0.51% to 4.0560.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.28% at 102.37.

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Weekly outlook: January 2 - 6

- The dollar declined against a basket of the other major currencies on Friday as traders took profits in the wake of a late year rally that propelled the greenback to 14-year highs.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.28% to 102.29 late Friday, off the 14-year high of 103.65 hit on December 20.

For the year, the index rose around 3.7% after rallying in the fourth quarter on the back of expectations for a faster pace of rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and increased fiscal spending under the incoming Trump administration.

The euro pushed higher in holiday thinned trade, with EUR/USD ending at 1.0517, up 0.29% for the day. The euro briefly jumped as high as 1.0653 during Asian trade, the strongest level in two weeks, before retracing gains.

The single currency ended the year down 3% against the dollar, its third consecutive yearly decline.

The pound was also higher, with GBP/USD advancing 0.71% to 1.2350 in late trade.

Sterling fell around 16% against the dollar for the year amid concerns over the economic fallout from the June 23 vote to exit the European Union.

The dollar was higher against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.34% at 116.95. On the year, the dollar posted its first yearly loss against the yen in five years, falling around 2.9%.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Friday’s U.S. employment report for December along with Wednesday’s minutes of the Fed’s December meeting.

U.S. data on manufacturing and service sector activity will also be in focus.

Market watchers will also be awaiting euro zone inflation data on survey data from the UK on manufacturing, service and construction sector activity.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, January 2

Financial markets around the world will be closed for the New Year holiday.

Tuesday, January 3

Financial markets in New Zealand and Japan will remain closed for holidays.

China is to publish its Caixin manufacturing PMI.

In the euro zone, Germany is to release preliminary inflation data and a report on the change in the number of people unemployed.

The U.K. is to release survey data on manufacturing activity.

The Institute for Supply Management is to release data on manufacturing activity.

Wednesday, January 4

The U.K. is to release survey data on construction activity.

The euro zone is to release preliminary data on inflation.

The Federal Reserve is to publish the minutes of its December meeting.

Thursday, January 5

China is to publish its Caixin services PMI.

The U.K. is to release survey data on service sector activity.

The U.S. is to release the ADP nonfarm payroll report and data on jobless claims. The ISM is to report on non-manufacturing activity.

Friday, January 6

Australia is to release trade data.

Germany is to report on factory orders and retail sales.

Canada is to publish its monthly jobs report along with trade data.

The U.S. is to round up the week with the closely watched report on nonfarm payrolls as well as data on trade and factory orders.

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Peru stocks lower at close of trade; S&P Lima General down 0.32%

– Peru stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Mining, Electricity and Services sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Lima, the S&P Lima General fell 0.32%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P Lima General were Corporacion Aceros Arequipa SA (LM:ARE), which rose 7.14% or 0.040 points to trade at 0.600 at the close. Meanwhile, Austral Group SAA (LM:AUG) added 3.57% or 0.050 points to end at 1.450 and Aceros Arequip (LM:AREi) was up 3.16% or 0.015 points to 0.490 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Buenaventura (LM:BVN), which fell 2.54% or 0.300 points to trade at 11.500 at the close. Ferreyros (LM:FER) declined 2.31% or 0.040 points to end at 1.690 and Volcan Minera (LM:VOL_pb) was down 1.37% or 0.010 points to 0.720.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Lima Stock Exchange by 10 to 7 and 10 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.13% or 0.07 to $53.84 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.19% or 0.11 to hit $56.74 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.50% or 5.75 to trade at $1152.35 a troy ounce.

USD/PEN was down 0.13% to 3.3529, while EUR/PEN rose 0.49% to 3.5386.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.24% at 102.41.

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U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.29%

– U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Technology, Consumer Services and Basic Materials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.29%, while the S&P 500 index fell 0.46%, and the NASDAQ Composite index lost 0.90%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), which rose 0.53% or 1.27 points to trade at 239.45 at the close. Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase&Co (NYSE:JPM) added 0.47% or 0.40 points to end at 86.29 and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was up 0.22% or 0.16 points to 74.08 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which fell 1.17% or 0.73 points to trade at 62.16 at the close. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) declined 0.98% or 0.36 points to end at 36.30 and McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) was down 0.87% or 1.07 points to 121.72.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Endo International PLC (NASDAQ:ENDP) which rose 5.04% to 16.47, Cabot Oil&Gas Corporation (NYSE:COG) which was up 2.73% to settle at 23.36 and SL Green Realty Corporation (NYSE:SLG) which gained 2.33% to close at 107.55.

The worst performers were NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) which was down 4.21% to 106.74 in late trade, Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM) which lost 3.40% to settle at 34.07 and Skyworks Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:SWKS) which was down 2.48% to 74.66 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were ImmunoGen Inc (NASDAQ:IMGN) which rose 29.11% to 2.04, Rubicon Technology Inc (NASDAQ:RBCN) which was up 24.74% to settle at 0.6000 and Synthesis Energy Systems Inc (NASDAQ:SYMX) which gained 23.44% to close at 1.0000.

The worst performers were Innocoll AG (NASDAQ:INNL) which was down 61.02% to 0.69 in late trade, Interpace Diagnostics Group Inc (NASDAQ:IDXG) which lost 20.00% to settle at 4.4000 and Opko Health Inc (NASDAQ:OPK) which was down 18.85% to 9.30 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1771 to 1459 and 38 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1527 fell and 997 advanced, while 110 ended unchanged.

Shares in Innocoll AG (NASDAQ:INNL) fell to all time lows; down 61.02% or 1.08 to 0.69.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 5.09% to 14.05.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.58% or 6.70 to $1151.40 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.13% or 0.07 to hit $53.84 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.19% or 0.11 to trade at $56.74 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.31% to 1.0520, while USD/JPY rose 0.35% to 116.97.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.24% at 102.41.

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CFTC: Speculators Crude Oil Net Longs at 2-Year High; Yen Net Shorts at 16-Month High

- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission released its weekly Commitments of Traders report for the week ending December 27 on Friday.


Speculative positioning in the CME and ICE currency, commodity, energy and index futures:

LongShort
NetPriorChangeGrossChangeGrossChange
EUR-69.4k-78.0k8.6k123.3k5.8k192.7k-2.8k
GBP-57.1k-59.4k2.3k50.1k5.9k107.2k3.7k
JPY-87.0k-75.4k-11.6k40.6k-23.6k127.6k-12.1k
CHF-10.1k7.1k-17.2k14.3k-19.2k24.4k-2.0k
CAD-1.6k-11.8k10.2k36.6k14.4k38.2k4.2k
AUD-1.5k3.9k-5.5k44.1k5.8k45.6k11.2k
NZD-11.0k-7.0k-4.0k25.4k-2.9k36.4k1.2k
MXN-61.7k-66.7k5.0k21.4k0.6k83.1k-4.4k
S&P9.7k-34.9k44.6k425.3k25.3k415.6k-19.3k
Gold98.3k114.8k-16.5k206.5k-12.5k108.2k4.0k
Silver58.9k60.9k-2.0k84.3k0.8k25.4k2.8k
Copper45.8k52.0k-6.3k112.5k-6.7k66.7k-0.5k
RUB14.4k14.6k-0.2k16.4k-0.4k2.1k-0.2k
Oil444.9k436.7k8.3k608.9k5.2k163.9k-3.1k


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Portugal stocks higher at close of trade; PSI 20 up 0.23%

– Portugal stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Technology, Consumer Goods and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Lisbon, the PSI 20 rose 0.23% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the PSI 20 were Banco Comercial Portugues (LS:BCP), which rose 2.00% or 0.0210 points to trade at 1.0710 at the close. Meanwhile, EDP Renovaveis (LS:EDPR) added 1.55% or 0.0920 points to end at 6.0360 and J. Martins SGPS (LS:JMT) was up 1.38% or 0.2000 points to 14.7400 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Sonae Capital (LS:SONAC), which fell 2.09% or 0.0160 points to trade at 0.7480 at the close. Pharol SGPS SA (LS:PHRA) declined 1.43% or 0.0030 points to end at 0.2070 and EDP (LS:EDP) was down 1.06% or 0.0310 points to 2.8940.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Lisbon Stock Exchange by 21 to 13 and 5 ended unchanged.

Brent oil for March delivery was down 0.46% or 0.26 to $56.59 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.30% or 0.16 to hit $53.61 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.47% or 5.45 to trade at $1152.65 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.44% to 1.0534, while EUR/GBP fell 0.20% to 0.8539.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.36% at 102.29.

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Spain stocks higher at close of trade; IBEX 35 up 0.27%

– Spain stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Financial Services&Real Estate, Consumer Goods and Telecoms&IT sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Madrid, the IBEX 35 gained 0.27%.

The best performers of the session on the IBEX 35 were Gamesa (MC:GAM), which rose 1.77% or 0.335 points to trade at 19.270 at the close. Meanwhile, Banco Santander (MC:SAN) added 1.16% or 0.057 points to end at 4.959 and Melia Hotels (MC:MEL) was up 0.86% or 0.095 points to 11.080 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Enagas (MC:ENAG), which fell 0.90% or 0.220 points to trade at 24.125 at the close. International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (MC:ICAG) declined 0.85% or 0.044 points to end at 5.129 and Ferrovial (MC:FER) was down 0.76% or 0.130 points to 16.995.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Madrid Stock Exchange by 88 to 67 and 22 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.23% or 2.70 to $1155.40 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.30% or 0.16 to hit $53.61 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.46% or 0.26 to trade at $56.59 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.51% to 1.0542, while EUR/GBP fell 0.14% to 0.8544.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.40% at 102.25.

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Netherlands stocks higher at close of trade; AEX up 0.15%

– Netherlands stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Consumer Services, Financials and Technology sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Amsterdam, the AEX gained 0.15%.

The best performers of the session on the AEX were Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV (AS:AD), which rose 1.65% or 0.33 points to trade at 20.03 at the close. Meanwhile, Unibail Rodamco SE (AS:UNBP) added 1.59% or 3.55 points to end at 226.75 and NN Group (AS:NN) was up 0.55% or 0.17 points to 32.20 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Vopak (AS:VOPA), which fell 0.96% or 0.43 points to trade at 44.88 at the close. Royal Dutch Shell A (AS:RDSa) declined 0.76% or 0.200 points to end at 25.985 and ABN AMRO Group NV (AS:ABNd) was down 0.52% or 0.11 points to 21.05.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by 65 to 56 and 11 ended unchanged.

The AEX Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of AEX options, was up 1.59% to 16.57.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.30% or 0.16 to $53.61 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.46% or 0.26 to hit $56.59 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.25% or 2.85 to trade at $1155.25 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.51% to 1.0541, while EUR/GBP fell 0.14% to 0.8544.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.40% at 102.25.

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Four major market indexes down on Friday

- All four major market indexes declined on intraday trading this morning, as the rhetorical war between the U.S. and Russia over hacking allegations continued.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index was at 19811.00, down 8.78 points.

The Nasdaq Composite was at 5396.98, a decline of 36.01 points.

The S&P 500 was at 2244.19, down 4.78 points.

The Russell 2000 was also down on intraday trading.

Trading was light, on the last market day of the year, but was influenced by the news of renewed hostilities between the U.S. and Russia, not seen since the Cold War era.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has posted a critical comment on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) on U.S. President Barack Obama’s new anti-Russian measures, stating Obama’s team of “bitter” and “helpless” apparatchiks caused the latest foreign policy crisis.

“Today America, the American people were humiliated by their own president. Not by international terrorists, not by [the] enemy’s troops. This time Washington was slapped by own master, who has complicated the urgent tasks for the incoming team in the extreme,” Zakharova wrote, labeling the current administration “a group of foreign policy losers, bitter and narrow-minded.”

The Russian foreign minister also said Obama's actions "debunked a long-cherished myth of America’s exceptionalism that claims a special place in the world. "

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Belgium stocks higher at close of trade; BEL 20 up 0.15%

– Belgium stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Consumer Services, Consumer Goods and Industrials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Brussels, the BEL 20 added 0.15%.

The best performers of the session on the BEL 20 were Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV (AS:AD), which rose 1.65% or 0.33 points to trade at 20.03 at the close. Meanwhile, Cofinimmo-Sicafi (BR:COFB) added 1.31% or 1.40 points to end at 108.65 and Etablissementen Fr Colruyt NV (BR:COLR) was up 0.74% or 0.34 points to 47.01 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were UCB (BR:UCB), which fell 1.34% or 0.83 points to trade at 60.91 at the close. Solvay SA (BR:SOLB) declined 0.36% or 0.40 points to end at 111.35 and Telenet Group (BR:TNET) was down 0.32% or 0.17 points to 52.72.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Brussels Stock Exchange by 62 to 49 and 9 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.20% or 2.35 to $1155.75 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.20% or 0.11 to hit $53.66 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.33% or 0.19 to trade at $56.66 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.54% to 1.0545, while EUR/GBP fell 0.15% to 0.8543.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.44% at 102.21.

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U.K. stocks higher at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 up 0.26%

– U.K. stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Construction&Materials, Industrial Transportation and Real Estate Investment Trusts REITs sectors led shares higher.

At the close in London, the United Kingdom 100 gained 0.26% to hit a new 52-week high.

The best performers of the session on the United Kingdom 100 were Coca Cola HBC AG (LON:CCH), which rose 2.19% or 38.0 points to trade at 1770.0 at the close. Meanwhile, London Stock Exchange Group PLC (LON:LSE) added 2.07% or 59.00 points to end at 2914.00 and Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (LON:HIK) was up 1.94% or 36.00 points to 1893.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR), which fell 1.48% or 10.00 points to trade at 668.00 at the close. BT Group PLC (LON:BT) declined 1.09% or 4.050 points to end at 366.900 and DCC (LON:DCC) was down 0.90% or 55.0 points to 6040.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the London Stock Exchange by 888 to 619 and 461 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.19% or 2.15 to $1155.95 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.19% or 0.10 to hit $53.67 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.26% or 0.15 to trade at $56.70 a barrel.

GBP/USD was up 0.71% to 1.2351, while EUR/GBP fell 0.13% to 0.8545.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.48% at 102.17.

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Germany stocks mixed at close of trade; DAX up 0.26%

– Germany stocks were mixed after the close on Friday, as gains in the Utilities, Retail and Insurance sectors led shares higher while losses in the Food&Beverages, Pharmaceuticals&Healthcare and Media sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Frankfurt, the DAX gained 0.26% to hit a new 52-week high, while the MDAX index gained 0.19%, and the TecDAX index fell 0.08%.

The best performers of the session on the DAX were Adidas AG (DE:ADSGN), which rose 1.49% or 2.200 points to trade at 150.150 at the close. Meanwhile, RWE AG ST O.N. (DE:RWEG) added 1.07% or 0.125 points to end at 11.815 and Deutsche Bank AG NA O.N. (DE:DBKGn) was up 0.82% or 0.140 points to 17.250 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Fresenius Medical Care KGAA ST (DE:FMEG), which fell 1.39% or 1.130 points to trade at 80.450 at the close. Lufthansa AG VNA O.N. (DE:LHAG) declined 1.25% or 0.155 points to end at 12.270 and Linde AG O.N. (DE:LING) was down 1.11% or 1.750 points to 156.100.

The top performers on the MDAX were Norma Group AG NA O.N. (DE:NOEJ) which rose 1.90% to 40.550, Tag Immobilien AG (DE:TEGG) which was up 1.49% to settle at 12.560 and Metro AG ST O.N. (DE:MEOG) which gained 1.43% to close at 31.585.

The worst performers were Hochtief AG (DE:HOTG) which was down 0.78% to 133.050 in late trade, Lanxess AG (DE:LXSG) which lost 0.75% to settle at 62.350 and Krones AG O.N. (DE:KRNG) which was down 0.49% to 86.900 at the close.

The top performers on the TecDAX were Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology O.N. (DE:PV) which rose 1.43% to 88.820, Nemetschek AG O.N. (DE:NEKG) which was up 1.17% to settle at 55.260 and S&T AG (F:SANT1) which gained 1.12% to close at 8.600.

The worst performers were Sartorius AG VZO O.N. (DE:SATG_p) which was down 1.69% to 70.500 in late trade, Siltronic AG (DE:WAFGn) which lost 1.44% to settle at 44.025 and Draegerwerk VZO O.N. (DE:DRWG_p) which was down 1.41% to 79.490 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by 388 to 369 and 25 ended unchanged.

Shares in Metro AG ST O.N. (DE:MEOG) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 1.43% or 0.445 to 31.585.

The DAX volatility index, which measures the implied volatility of DAX options, was up 1.39% to 17.85.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.19% or 2.15 to $1155.95 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.17% or 0.09 to hit $53.68 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.25% or 0.14 to trade at $56.71 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.60% to 1.0551, while EUR/GBP fell 0.13% to 0.8545.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.48% at 102.17.

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Poland stocks lower at close of trade; WIG30 down 0.01%

– Poland stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Information Technology, Chemicals and Energy sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Warsaw, the WIG30 fell 0.01%.

The best performers of the session on the WIG30 were OrangePL (WA:OPL), which rose 1.30% or 0.07 points to trade at 5.46 at the close. Meanwhile, Bank Millennium SA (WA:MILP) added 0.97% or 0.05 points to end at 5.19 and Kernel Holding SA (WA:KER) was up 0.87% or 0.55 points to 63.85 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Asseco Poland SA (WA:ACPP), which fell 4.50% or 2.54 points to trade at 53.96 at the close. Grupa Azoty SA (WA:ATTP) declined 3.44% or 2.23 points to end at 62.67 and Jastrzebska Spotka Weglowa SA (WA:JSW) was down 1.91% or 1.30 points to 66.90.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by 337 to 242 and 177 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.17% or 0.09 to $53.68 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.25% or 0.14 to hit $56.71 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.09% or 1.05 to trade at $1157.05 a troy ounce.

EUR/PLN was up 0.00% to 4.4070, while USD/PLN fell 0.61% to 4.1768.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.48% at 102.17.

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Norway stocks lower at close of trade; Oslo OBX down 0.44%

– Norway stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Consumer Durables And Apparel, Utilities and Auto&components sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Oslo, the Oslo OBX declined 0.44%.

The best performers of the session on the Oslo OBX were Petroleum Geo - Services ASA (OL:PGS), which rose 1.28% or 0.37 points to trade at 29.20 at the close. Meanwhile, Frontline Ltd (OL:FRO) added 0.81% or 0.50 points to end at 62.00 and Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (OL:NWC) was up 0.77% or 2.2 points to 287.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were REC Silicon ASA (OL:REC), which fell 3.72% or 0.04 points to trade at 1.14 at the close. Seadrill Limited (OL:SDRL) declined 2.23% or 0.7 points to end at 29.8 and BW LPG Ltd (OL:BWLPG) was down 1.97% or 0.73 points to 36.33.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Oslo Stock Exchange by 94 to 89 and 28 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.13% or 0.07 to $53.70 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.23% or 0.13 to hit $56.72 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.06% or 0.65 to trade at $1157.45 a troy ounce.

EUR/NOK was up 0.23% to 9.0903, while USD/NOK fell 0.38% to 8.6133.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.49% at 102.16.

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White House Russia sanctions force dollar down

- The U.S. dollar fell on Friday, as did the ruble, as White House sanctions against Russia over alleged hacking during the presidential election hammered forex markets.

The euro traded at 1.0549 from $1.0556, though it earlier in the day traded at its highest level in nearly two weeks, due to computer trading.

“Surpassing the $1.05 level triggered substantial algorithm orders,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital, in an investor note, obtained by . “Thin holiday volumes aggravated the quake.”

The euro is down 2.9% in 2016 against the dollar.

Experts expect the currency to fall even more in the new year.

The ICE Dollar Index dropped 0.5% to 102.13 on Friday, leaving it on track for a 3.5% gain in 2016, its fourth straight year of advances.

The WSJ Dollar index which measures the greenback against a broader basket of rivals, dropped 0.3% to 92.73.

The dollar traded against the yen at ¥116.76 from ¥116.37. Though the dollar has fallen 3.3% against the yen in 2016, it has risen more than 15% against the currency over the past three months.

The ruble dipped on Friday as diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia grew. The ruble traded at 61.04 to the dollar, compared with 60.20 late Thursday, a move of about 1.4%.

The British pound was at $1.2376, up from $1.2263. Sterling has slipped nearly 17% this year as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union this summer.

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Greece stocks higher at close of trade; Athens General-Composite up 0.72%

– Greece stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Banking, Food and Financials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Athens, the Athens General-Composite added 0.72%.

The best performers of the session on the Athens General-Composite were Quest Holdings (AT:IQTr), which rose 8.65% or 0.540 points to trade at 6.780 at the close. Meanwhile, Papoutsanis (AT:PSALr) added 7.57% or 0.014 points to end at 0.199 and Marfin Invest (AT:MRFr) was up 7.14% or 0.010 points to 0.150 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Revoil Petrol (AT:REVr), which fell 4.58% or 0.016 points to trade at 0.333 at the close. Thrace Plastic (AT:THRr) declined 4.17% or 0.100 points to end at 2.300 and Athens Medical (AT:AMCr) was down 3.85% or 0.024 points to 0.600.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Athens Stock Exchange by 70 to 37 and 13 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.01% or 0.10 to $1158.20 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.32% or 0.17 to hit $53.60 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.42% or 0.24 to trade at $56.61 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.66% to 1.0557, while EUR/GBP rose 0.04% to 0.8559.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.51% at 102.14.

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Chicago PMI falls more than expected in December

- Manufacturing activity in the Chicago-area fell more than expected in December, dropping back from a previous reading that had been the highest since January 2015 and dampening optimism over the U.S. economic outlook, industry data showed on Friday.

In a report, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its Chicago purchasing managers’ index decreased by 3.0 points to a seasonally adjusted 54.6 this month from a reading of 57.6 in November. Analysts had expected the index to drop 0.6 points to 57.0 in December.

On the index, a number above 50.0 indicates an expansion, while below indicates contraction.

MNI Indicators, which helps elaborate the report, noted that three of the five components included in the barometer decreased, while employment held firm and supplier deliveries increased slightly.

New orders led the decline, falling 6.7 points to 56.5.

Despite the decline in the general index, MNI Indicators pointed out that the reading for the fourth quarter hit a two-year high.

“Most firms are upbeat going into 2017 and believe new better things are to come under the new administration,” MNI Indicators economist Jamie Satchi said, referring to Donald Trump’s swearing in as President that will take place on January 20.

After the report, EUR/USD was trading at 1.0544 from around 1.0529 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.2377 from 1.2357 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 116.72 from 116.86 earlier.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 102.16 from 102.30 previously.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets were trading flat after the open. The Dow 30 inched down 0.05%, the S&P 500 dropped 0.02%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.15%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,159.95 a troy ounce, compared to $1,160.85 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $53.57 a barrel from $53.53 earlier.

This is a breaking news story; please refresh the page for updates.

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Oil on track for largest annual gain in 7 years

- Oil prices moved higher in pre-New Year holiday trade on Friday, on track for its largest annual gain since 2009. U.S. crude rose 22 cents, or 0.41%, to $53.99 at 05.13 ET. Brent crude advanced 23 cents, or 0.40%, to $57.08. The strong gains registered in 2016 have come on the back of an agreement between OPEC and other producers led by Russia to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day starting from January 1, 2017.
Oil prices will gradually rise towards $60 per barrel by the end of 2017, a Reuters’ poll showed on Thursday, though experts expect a lack of compliance in the output deal a stronger dollar to limit further gains. Investors also looked ahead to the Baker Hughes U.S. rig count data for the latest week.
The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. the previous week increased by 13 to 523, the eighth straight weekly rise and a level not seen in almost a year.

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U.S. stock futures point to positive end for 2016

- Wall Street futures pointed to a higher open on Friday, putting U.S. stocks on track to end 2016 on a positive note for the last trading day of the year.

The blue-chip Dow futures gained 35 points, or 0.18%, by 6:58AM ET (11:58GMT), the S&P 500 futures advanced 5 points, or 0.22%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 11 points, or 0.22%.

Even with the slight gains noted in index futures, the Dow looked unlikely to reach the psychologically important level of 20,000 points which would require a gain of about 180 points.

Beyond the psychological impact of the triple zero milestones, the key technical resistance to watch for the future is this year’s all-time high reached on December 20 at 19,987.63 points.

In any case, U.S. stocks were set to record a stellar year with the Dow currently up around 14%, the S&P advancing around 10% and the Nasdaq Composite pocketing yearly gains of close to 9%.

Wall Street looked ready to end 2016 on a completely different note than sentiment when global stocks plunged in the first few weeks of the year as fears over the outlook for global growth brought out the bears.

Equities were not the only asset class set to close the books Friday with strong gains as crude oil, rubber and metals bounced back from several years of losses on the back of output cuts and expectations of firmer demand.

Still, Friday’s session looked unlikely to make a significant dent in markets with trading volumes thin with many traders still on holiday or packing up for what would be a long weekend with Wall Street closed on Monday.

In a light calendar day, the Chicago purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for December at 9:45AM ET (14:45GMT) was the only scheduled excuse for possible stock moves.

In that context, investors were already focusing more on the outlook for 2017 as market participants prepared to watch fiscal policies to be implemented when President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, the U.K.’s triggering of article 50 which will kick start negotiations for its exit from the European Union, key elections in France and Germany, promises made Friday by China’s central bank to keep monetary policy stable in order to help maintain liquidity conditions, the kick off starting January 1 of major oil producers’ agreement to cut back on crude production, along with developments surrounding the U.S. economy and its impact on the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) plans to hike rates three times in the coming year.

Markets remained skeptical as the Fed’s December 2015 promise to tighten policy four times in 2016 ended with only one increase at the end of this year.

With this in mind, Fed fund futures priced in just two moves in 2017, according to 's Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

Odds stood at around 65% for the first hike to arrive in June and just over 50% for a second move in November.

However, markets put the likelihood of the Fed hiking three times by the end of 2017 at only 35%.

Meanwhile, gold prices rose to a three-week high amid low-volume holiday trading on Friday, as the U.S. dollar continued to pull back against major rivals, boosting the appeal of the yellow metal.

Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose to a session peak of $1,164.25 a troy ounce, a level not seen since December 9.

Prices of the yellow metal sank to an 11-month low of $1,124.30 earlier in December.

Gold has rebounded almost 3% from that trough and is logging gains of more than 9% for the year.

Oil, for its part was trading flat with mixed signs on Friday, as the commodity took a breather from a rally that saw crude rise around 50% since the start of the year.

U.S. crude oil futures advanced 0.11% to $53.83 at by 6:59AM ET (11:59GMT), while Brent oil slipped 0.05% to $56.82.

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India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 1.01%

– India stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Power and Healthcare sectors led shares higher.

At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 rose 1.01%, while the BSE Sensex 30 index added 0.99%.

The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. (NS:ARBN), which rose 3.21% or 20.80 points to trade at 668.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Bosch Ltd (NS:BOSH) added 2.66% or 550.00 points to end at 21200.00 and GAIL Ltd (NS:GAIL) was up 2.58% or 11.00 points to 436.55 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (NS:BPCL), which fell 0.89% or 5.70 points to trade at 633.95 at the close. Bajaj Auto Limited (NS:BAJA) declined 0.66% or 17.45 points to end at 2634.00 and Oil And Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (NS:ONGC) was down 0.42% or 0.80 points to 190.80.

The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were Gail (India) Ltd. (BO:GAIL) which rose 3.07% to 437.95, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (BO:SUN) which was up 2.59% to settle at 629.75 and ITC Ltd (BO:ITC) which gained 2.31% to close at 240.95.

The worst performers were Bajaj Auto Limited (BO:BAJA) which was down 0.81% to 2633.85 in late trade, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. (BO:REDY) which lost 0.46% to settle at 3052.00 and TATA STEEL LIMITED (BO:TISC) which was down 0.34% to 391.10 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 1046 to 428 and 73 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1721 rose and 845 declined, while 193 ended unchanged.

The India Vix, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was up 1.19% to 15.4650.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.25% or 2.95 to $1161.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.30% or 0.16 to hit $53.93 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.21% or 0.12 to trade at $56.97 a barrel.

USD/INR was down 0.09% to 67.885, while EUR/INR rose 0.58% to 71.6864.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.45% at 102.20.

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Gold hits 3-week high as weaker dollar supports prices

- Gold prices rose to a three-week high amid low-volume holiday trading on Friday, as the U.S. dollar pulled back, boosting the appeal of the yellow metal.
Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose to a session peak of $1,164.25 a troy ounce, a level not seen since December 9.

It was last at $1,160.50 by 3:41AM ET (9:41GMT), up $2.40, or 0.25%, adding to a gain of $17.00, or 1.49%, a day earlier. Prices of the yellow metal sank to an 11-month low of $1,124.30 earlier in December.

Trade is expected to remain thin for the final trading session of both the week and 2016 as most investors are away for year-end holidays.

The U.S. dollar continued to pull back on Friday, slipping from its 14-year-high against a basket of currencies as investors took profits in the run-up to the end of the year.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.18% at 102.48 by 3:44AM ET (9:44GMT), pulling back from a peak of 103.62 reached on December 20.

Meanwhile, Wall Street closed lower for a second day running in the prior session, as investors balked at the Dow facing the 20,000 point milestone and opted to take profits. Gold’s appeal increased as traders shifted positions from riskier stocks to the safe have metal.

Prices of the yellow metal have fallen sharply since Donald Trump was elected president as a soaring U.S. dollar, rising Treasury yields and a record-breaking rally on Wall Street have dampened its appeal.

Market analysts warned that the outlook for gold remains cloudy in the near-term, given expectations for higher U.S. interest rates in the months ahead.

The Fed hiked interest rates for the first time in a year earlier this month and projected three more increases in 2017.

The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.

Both a strong dollar and higher interest rates are typically bearish for gold, which is denominated in dollars and struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when borrowing costs rise.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery gained 1.9 cents, or 0.12%, to $16.237 a troy ounce during morning hours in New York, rebounding from last week's eight-month low of $15.67.

Meanwhile, platinum tacked on 0.74% to $909.05, while palladium traded down 0.22% to $674.17 an ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures rose 1.1 cents, or 0.44%, to $2.499 a pound.

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Japan stocks lower at close of trade; Nikkei 225 down 0.16%

– Japan stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Gas&Water, Mining and Power sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.16%.

The best performers of the session on the Nikkei 225 were Toshiba Corp. (T:6502), which rose 9.06% or 23.5 points to trade at 282.8 at the close. Meanwhile, Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. (T:1332) added 2.74% or 15.0 points to end at 562.0 and Advantest Corp. (T:6857) was up 1.97% or 38.0 points to 1968.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. (T:9983), which fell 1.95% or 830.0 points to trade at 41830.0 at the close. Taiheiyo Cement Corp. (T:5233) declined 1.85% or 7.0 points to end at 370.5 and Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (T:9501) was down 1.56% or 7.5 points to 473.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1767 to 1181 and 387 ended unchanged.

The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was up 4.23% to 21.17 a new 1-month high.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.45% or 0.24 to $54.01 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.55% or 0.31 to hit $57.16 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.24% or 2.75 to trade at $1160.85 a troy ounce.

USD/JPY was up 0.21% to 116.81, while EUR/JPY rose 0.56% to 122.95.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.19% at 102.46.

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Taiwan stocks higher at close of trade; Taiwan Weighted up 1.10%

– Taiwan stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Oil, Gas&Electricity, Information Services and Cement sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Taiwan, the Taiwan Weighted gained 1.10%.

The best performers of the session on the Taiwan Weighted were Cyberlink (TW:5203), which rose 9.92% or 7.00 points to trade at 77.60 at the close. Meanwhile, Pqi (TW:6145) added 9.80% or 0.88 points to end at 9.86 and Transasia (TW:6702) was up 9.37% or 0.06 points to 0.70 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Grape King (TW:1707), which fell 9.88% or 20.50 points to trade at 187.00 at the close. Pal Wonn Taiwan Co Ltd (TW:2429) declined 4.44% or 0.75 points to end at 16.15 and Chenming Mold (TW:3013) was down 4.10% or 0.75 points to 17.55.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Taiwan Stock Exchange by 602 to 152 and 123 ended unchanged.

Shares in Cyberlink (TW:5203) rose to 52-week highs; rising 9.92% or 7.00 to 77.60.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.37% or 0.20 to $53.97 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.49% or 0.28 to hit $57.13 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.22% or 2.55 to trade at $1160.65 a troy ounce.

USD/TWD was down 0.20% to 32.241, while TWD/CNY rose 0.37% to 0.2169.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.24% at 102.41.

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Peru stocks higher at close of trade; S&P Lima General up 0.51%

– Peru stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the S&P Lima Juniors, Mining and Industrials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Lima, the S&P Lima General gained 0.51%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P Lima General were Austral Group SAA (LM:AUG), which rose 7.69% or 0.100 points to trade at 1.400 at the close. Meanwhile, Buenaventura (LM:BVN) added 5.64% or 0.630 points to end at 11.800 and Relapasa (LM:REL) was up 2.22% or 0.005 points to 0.230 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Sociedad Minera el Brocal SAA (LM:BRO), which fell 4.29% or 0.300 points to trade at 6.700 at the close. Trevali Mining (LM:TV) declined 2.30% or 0.020 points to end at 0.850 and Volcan Minera (LM:VOL_pb) was down 1.35% or 0.010 points to 0.730.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lima Stock Exchange by 14 to 13 and 6 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.41% or 0.22 to $53.84 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.19% or 0.11 to hit $56.85 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 1.61% or 18.35 to trade at $1159.25 a troy ounce.

USD/PEN was down 0.13% to 3.3570, while EUR/PEN rose 0.84% to 3.5212.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.52% at 102.70.

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U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.02%

– U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Financials and Consumer Services sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.02%, while the S&P 500 index lost 0.06%, and the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.19%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ), which rose 0.73% or 0.39 points to trade at 53.83 at the close. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) added 0.52% or 0.21 points to end at 41.60 and Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) was up 0.46% or 0.15 points to 32.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were JPMorgan Chase&Co (NYSE:JPM), which fell 1.02% or 0.88 points to trade at 85.62 at the close. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) declined 0.85% or 2.05 points to end at 238.60 and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was down 0.51% or 0.38 points to 73.99.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM) which rose 6.38% to 34.87, Digital Realty Trust Inc (NYSE:DLR) which was up 2.51% to settle at 98.43 and Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR) which gained 2.04% to close at 73.46.

The worst performers were Arconic Inc (NYSE:ARNC) which was down 2.68% to 18.73 in late trade, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE:CMG) which lost 2.25% to settle at 376.70 and Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) which was down 2.13% to 26.68 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Cesca Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:KOOL) which rose 33.09% to 3.6600, Modsys International Ltd (NASDAQ:MDSY) which was up 27.65% to settle at 0.929 and Fortress Biotech Inc (NASDAQ:FBIO) which gained 21.62% to close at 2.785.

The worst performers were Cempra Inc (NASDAQ:CEMP) which was down 57.38% to 2.600 in late trade, Interpace Diagnostics Group Inc (NASDAQ:IDXG) which lost 30.13% to settle at 5.2399 and MoSys Inc (NASDAQ:MOSY) which was down 24.85% to 0.2450 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1807 to 1342 and 80 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1374 fell and 1075 advanced, while 135 ended unchanged.

Shares in Cempra Inc (NASDAQ:CEMP) fell to all time lows; losing 57.38% or 3.500 to 2.600. Shares in MoSys Inc (NASDAQ:MOSY) fell to all time lows; falling 24.85% or 0.0810 to 0.2450.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 3.78% to 13.44.

Gold for February delivery was up 1.30% or 14.80 to $1155.70 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.59% or 0.32 to hit $53.74 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.28% or 0.16 to trade at $56.80 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.66% to 1.0484, while USD/JPY fell 0.51% to 116.64.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.51% at 102.71.

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Colombia stocks lower at close of trade; COLCAP down 0.12%

– Colombia stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Services, Financials and Industrials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Colombia, the COLCAP fell 0.12%.

The best performers of the session on the COLCAP were Grupoaval (CN:GAA), which rose 1.29% or 15.0 points to trade at 1180.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Pfgrupsura (CN:SIS_p) added 1.14% or 420.0 points to end at 37120.0 and Celsia SA (CN:CEL) was up 1.00% or 40.0 points to 4025.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Cementos Argos Pf (CN:CCB_p), which fell 1.82% or 200.0 points to trade at 10780.0 at the close. Bolsa De Valores De Colombia (CN:BVC) declined 1.41% or 0.3 points to end at 21.0 and Bcolombia (CN:BIC) was down 0.71% or 180.0 points to 25300.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Colombia Stock Exchange by 12 to 12 and 1 ended unchanged.

US coffee C for March delivery was up 1.70% or 2.27 to $135.52 . Elsewhere in commodities trading, US cocoa for delivery in March fell 2.61% or 57.50 to hit $2148.00 , while the February Gold contract rose 1.31% or 14.95 to trade at $1155.85 a troy ounce.

USD/COP was down 0.75% to 2995.48, while BRL/COP rose 0.13% to 920.47.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.50% at 102.72.

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The dollar gains against the yen on Thursday trading

- The pound and the euro regained some strength on Thursday, while the USD/JPY gained again against
the yen.

The dollar/yen pairing was at 116.52, down 0.70, or 0.60%. The pound was at 1.2246. The euro is trading at 1.0491.

Forex trading was relatively light during the approach to New Year's day and Monday's market holiday.

Greed seems to be driving Wall Street markets now as the dominant motivating factor, according to CNN's Fear & Greed Index.

According to the metric, the predominant emotion for traders in the market today was greed, at 65% of all
traders. Yesterday, the index closed at 67%. A week ago, and a month ago, greed was the major feeling
for 71% of investors.

A year ago, however, the emotion that dominated the market was neutral. Back then, 47% of traders were neither
fearful, nor greedy, in their outlook.

"For each indicator, we look at how far they've veered from their average relative to how far they normally veer," explains
CNN. "We look at each on a scale from 0 - 100. The higher the reading, the greedier investors are being, and 50 is neutral."

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Portugal stocks higher at close of trade; PSI 20 up 0.35%

– Portugal stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Technology, Telecoms and Basic Materials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Lisbon, the PSI 20 added 0.35% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the PSI 20 were Sonae Capital (LS:SONAC), which rose 1.46% or 0.0110 points to trade at 0.7640 at the close. Meanwhile, Semapa (LS:SEM) added 1.29% or 0.1700 points to end at 13.3950 and Banco Comercial Portugues (LS:BCP) was up 0.96% or 0.0100 points to 1.0500 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Pharol SGPS SA (LS:PHRA), which fell 0.94% or 0.0020 points to trade at 0.2100 at the close. CTT Correios de Portugal SA (LS:CTT) declined 0.28% or 0.0180 points to end at 6.4400 and Banco BPI (LS:BBPI) was up 0.09% or 0.0010 points to 1.1280.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Lisbon Stock Exchange by 27 to 6 and 9 ended unchanged.

Shares in Semapa (LS:SEM) rose to all time highs; rising 1.29% or 0.1700 to 13.3950.

Brent oil for March delivery was down 0.32% or 0.18 to $56.78 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.55% or 0.30 to hit $53.76 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 1.41% or 16.05 to trade at $1156.95 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.60% to 1.0478, while EUR/GBP rose 0.55% to 0.8569.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.46% at 102.77.

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Denmark stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Copenhagen 20 up 0.40%

– Denmark stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Real Estate, Personal&Household Goods and Consumer Goods sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Copenhagen, the OMX Copenhagen 20 added 0.40% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Copenhagen 20 were Pandora A/S (CO:PNDORA), which rose 1.37% or 12.5 points to trade at 922.5 at the close. Meanwhile, TDC A/S (CO:TDC) added 0.90% or 0.32 points to end at 35.85 and Dong Energy A/S (CO:DENERG) was up 0.68% or 1.80 points to 267.60 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Nets A/S (CO:NETS), which fell 1.61% or 2.00 points to trade at 122.50 at the close. William Demant Holding AS (CO:WDH) declined 0.24% or 0.3 points to end at 124.0 and Jyske Bank A/S (CO:JYSK) was down 0.18% or 0.6 points to 335.7.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange by 69 to 57 and 16 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.65% or 0.35 to $53.71 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.33% or 0.19 to hit $56.77 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 1.37% or 15.65 to trade at $1156.55 a troy ounce.

USD/DKK was down 0.64% to 7.0928, while EUR/DKK fell 0.01% to 7.4332.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.47% at 102.75.

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France stocks lower at close of trade; CAC 40 down 0.20%

– France stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Basic Materials, Financials and Consumer Goods sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 lost 0.20%, while the SBF 120 index lost 0.15%.

The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were Unibail Rodamco SE (AS:UNBP), which rose 1.36% or 3.00 points to trade at 223.20 at the close. Meanwhile, Orange SA (PA:ORAN) added 1.09% or 0.15 points to end at 14.38 and Klepierre (PA:LOIM) was up 0.93% or 0.34 points to 36.98 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were ArcelorMittal SA (AS:ISPA), which fell 2.10% or 0.151 points to trade at 7.046 at the close. Valeo SA (PA:VLOF) declined 1.46% or 0.80 points to end at 54.09 and BNP Paribas SA (PA:BNPP) was down 1.32% or 0.80 points to 59.85.

The top performers on the SBF 120 were Vicat (PA:VCTP) which rose 2.16% to 58.23, Mercialys (PA:MERY) which was up 1.68% to settle at 19.06 and Numericable SFR SA (PA:SFRGR) which gained 1.43% to close at 26.250.

The worst performers were ArcelorMittal SA (AS:ISPA) which was down 2.10% to 7.046 in late trade, Valeo SA (PA:VLOF) which lost 1.46% to settle at 54.09 and BNP Paribas SA (PA:BNPP) which was down 1.32% to 59.85 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 323 to 240 and 116 ended unchanged.

The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was up 3.99% to 17.36.

Gold for February delivery was up 1.37% or 15.65 to $1156.55 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.67% or 0.36 to hit $53.70 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.35% or 0.20 to trade at $56.76 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.62% to 1.0480, while EUR/GBP rose 0.56% to 0.8570.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.47% at 102.75.

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Italy stocks lower at close of trade; Investing.com Italy 40 down 0.23%

– Italy stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Financials, Technology and Telecoms sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Milan, the Italy 40 fell 0.23%.

The best performers of the session on the Italy 40 were Terna (MI:TRN), which rose 2.14% or 0.092 points to trade at 4.382 at the close. Meanwhile, Brembo (MI:BRBI) added 1.33% or 0.75 points to end at 57.15 and Recordati (MI:RECI) was up 1.20% or 0.32 points to 27.06 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Banco Popolare Sc (MI:BAPO), which fell 3.76% or 0.090 points to trade at 2.302 at the close. Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl (MI:PMII) declined 3.50% or 0.0131 points to end at 0.3609 and UBI Banca (MI:UBI) was down 3.13% or 0.0840 points to 2.5980.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Milan Stock Exchange by 160 to 156 and 27 ended unchanged.

Shares in Brembo (MI:BRBI) rose to all time highs; up 1.33% or 0.75 to 57.15.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.67% or 0.36 to $53.70 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.35% or 0.20 to hit $56.76 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 1.40% or 15.95 to trade at $1156.85 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.63% to 1.0481, while EUR/GBP rose 0.56% to 0.8570.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.48% at 102.74.

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Belgium stocks lower at close of trade; BEL 20 down 0.22%

– Belgium stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Financials, Basic Materials and Banking sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Brussels, the BEL 20 declined 0.22%.

The best performers of the session on the BEL 20 were Proximus NV (BR:PROX), which rose 1.28% or 0.34 points to trade at 27.36 at the close. Meanwhile, UCB (BR:UCB) added 0.96% or 0.59 points to end at 61.74 and Cofinimmo-Sicafi (BR:COFB) was up 0.85% or 0.90 points to 107.25 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were ING Groep NV (AS:INGA), which fell 1.48% or 0.200 points to trade at 13.325 at the close. NV Bekaert SA (BR:BEKB) declined 1.01% or 0.40 points to end at 38.53 and KBC (BR:KBC) was down 0.81% or 0.480 points to 58.890.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Brussels Stock Exchange by 64 to 46 and 8 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 1.45% or 16.55 to $1157.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.68% or 0.37 to hit $53.69 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.32% or 0.18 to trade at $56.78 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.68% to 1.0486, while EUR/GBP rose 0.59% to 0.8572.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.53% at 102.69.

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Nigeria stocks higher at close of trade; NSE 30 up 0.39%

– Nigeria stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Banking, Insurance and Food, Beverages&Tobacco sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Lagos, the NSE 30 added 0.39%.

The best performers of the session on the NSE 30 were Guaranty Bnk (LAGOS:GUARANT), which rose 5.77% or 1.35 points to trade at 24.75 at the close. Meanwhile, Dangote Flour Mills PLC (LAGOS:DANGFLOUR) added 4.58% or 0.19 points to end at 4.34 and Total Nig (LAGOS:TOTAL) was up 4.14% or 11.88 points to 299.95 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Stanbicibtc Hl (LAGOS:IBTC), which fell 4.21% or 0.66 points to trade at 15.00 at the close. Access Bank (LAGOS:ACCESS) declined 3.18% or 0.19 points to end at 5.78 and Fidelitybk (LAGOS:FIDELIT) was down 1.18% or 0.010 points to 0.840.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Lagos by 24 to 19 and 47 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.78% or 0.42 to $53.64 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.46% or 0.26 to hit $56.70 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 1.49% or 16.95 to trade at $1157.85 a troy ounce.

EUR/NGN was down 2.93% to 318.540, while USD/NGN fell 0.01% to 314.980.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.53% at 102.69.

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Poland stocks higher at close of trade; WIG30 up 0.70%

– Poland stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Information Technology, Chemicals and Banking sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Warsaw, the WIG30 added 0.70% to hit a new 52-week high.

The best performers of the session on the WIG30 were Eurocash SA (WA:EUR), which rose 3.89% or 1.48 points to trade at 39.50 at the close. Meanwhile, Asseco Poland SA (WA:ACPP) added 2.73% or 1.50 points to end at 56.50 and Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen SA (WA:PZU) was up 2.13% or 0.69 points to 33.14 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka SA (WA:LWBP), which fell 2.21% or 1.60 points to trade at 70.70 at the close. Enea SA (WA:ENAE) declined 0.83% or 0.08 points to end at 9.60 and CD Projekt SA (WA:CDR) was down 0.63% or 0.33 points to 52.32.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by 389 to 166 and 171 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.57% or 0.31 to $53.75 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.26% or 0.15 to hit $56.81 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 1.50% or 17.15 to trade at $1158.05 a troy ounce.

EUR/PLN was up 0.18% to 4.4120, while USD/PLN fell 0.54% to 4.2062.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.54% at 102.68.

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Norway stocks higher at close of trade; Oslo OBX up 0.06%

– Norway stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Pharma Biotech&Life Sciences, Telecoms and Technology Hardware&Equipment sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Oslo, the Oslo OBX gained 0.06%.

The best performers of the session on the Oslo OBX were Telenor ASA (OL:TEL), which rose 1.80% or 2.3 points to trade at 130.1 at the close. Meanwhile, Aker BP ASA (OL:AKERBP) added 0.65% or 1.00 points to end at 154.90 and Orkla ASA (OL:ORK) was up 0.65% or 0.50 points to 77.90 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Petroleum Geo - Services ASA (OL:PGS), which fell 6.94% or 2.15 points to trade at 28.83 at the close. Seadrill Limited (OL:SDRL) declined 2.46% or 0.8 points to end at 30.5 and REC Silicon ASA (OL:REC) was down 2.07% or 0.03 points to 1.18.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Oslo Stock Exchange by 93 to 89 and 22 ended unchanged.

Shares in Aker BP ASA (OL:AKERBP) rose to all time highs; rising 0.65% or 1.00 to 154.90.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.61% or 0.33 to $53.73 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.28% or 0.16 to hit $56.80 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 1.60% or 18.25 to trade at $1159.15 a troy ounce.

EUR/NOK was up 0.01% to 9.0840, while USD/NOK fell 0.70% to 8.6608.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.53% at 102.69.

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Russia stocks higher at close of trade; MICEX up 1.07%

– Russia stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Telecoms, Mining and Power sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Moscow, the MICEX gained 1.07%.

The best performers of the session on the MICEX were Polymetal International PLC (MCX:POLY), which rose 4.68% or 28.50 points to trade at 637.00 at the close. Meanwhile, MosEnrg (MCX:MSNG) added 4.12% or 0.0985 points to end at 2.4870 and Surgut (MCX:SNGS) was up 3.20% or 0.960 points to 30.965 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were AK Transneft OAO Pref (MCX:TRNF_p), which fell 2.02% or 4100 points to trade at 198500 at the close. Rosseti ao (MCX:RSTI) declined 1.44% or 0.0166 points to end at 1.1329 and ANK Bashneft OAO Pref (MCX:BANE_p) was down 0.81% or 10.0 points to 1225.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Moscow Stock Exchange by 144 to 78 and 19 ended unchanged.

Shares in ANK Bashneft OAO Pref (MCX:BANE_p) fell to 52-week lows; falling 0.81% or 10.0 to 1225.0.

The Russian VIX, which measures the implied volatility of MICEX options, was up 1.52% to 26.100.

Gold for February delivery was up 1.62% or 18.45 to $1159.35 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.61% or 0.33 to hit $53.73 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.32% or 0.18 to trade at $56.78 a barrel.

USD/RUB was up 0.13% to 60.4100, while EUR/RUB rose 0.36% to 63.253.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.54% at 102.68.

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U.S. stocks slip while crude undergoes volatility after inventory build

–After an initially positive open, Wall Street remained indecisive nearing midday on Thursday, wobbling back and forth across the unchanged mark after the prior session’s triple-digit loss in the Dow Jones in pre-New Year holiday thinned trade.

At 11:33AM ET (16:33GMT), the Dow Jones slipped 2 points, or 0.01%, the S&P 500 gave up 2 points, or 0.08%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite traded down 11 points, or 0.20%.

U.S. stocks managed to grab back some of the points lost on Wednesday when the Dow registered its second largest drop since the November 8 presidential election and appeared to shut the door on hopes of reaching 20,000 points before the year’s end.

Trading has been thin due to the holiday season with many market participants on vacation or having already closed their books for the year and looking ahead to 2017.

Friday, the last trading session of this year, was expected to see even more of a slowdown in a session with no major economic data ahead of a three-day weekend due to Wall Street’s close the following Monday.

Thursday’s main data point, weekly initial jobless claims, came out slightly under expectations. However, the data point did little to move trade as the labor market continues to be solid and is widely considered to be reflecting levels of full employment.

In other data released on Wednesday, the U.S. trade deficit in November widened to $65.3 billion, missing expectations for it to narrow to $61.5 billion, while wholesale inventories increased by 0.9%, compared to forecasts for just a 0.1% gain.

The U.S. dollar rally lost steam in light pre-New Year holiday trade on Thursday, slipping from its 14-year-high against a basket of currencies as investors took profits in the run-up to the end of the year.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.53% at 102.69 by 11:35AM ET (15:35GMT), pulling back from last week's 14-year peak of 103.62.

Gold prices remained close to a two-week high hit on Thursday amid low-volume holiday trading, as the U.S. dollar and global stock markets pulled back, boosting the appeal of the yellow metal.

Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose to a session peak of $1,159.50 a troy ounce, a level not seen since December 14. At 11:36AM ET (15:36GMT), the precious metal was last up 1.47 %, or $16.75, at $1,157.65.

Meanwhile, mixed U.S. crude inventory data caused choppy trade in oil prices on Thursday.

For the bears, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories rose by 0.614 million barrels in the week ended December 23, compared to forecasts for a draw of 2.060 million barrels.

However, that did come a day after the American Petroleum Institute had reported a much larger build of 4.2 million barrels.

On other bullish signals for prices, both gasoline inventories and distillate stockpiles registered unexpected stock draws.

Prices were all over the map in the half hour following the release, but at 11:37AM ET (15:37GMT), U.S. crude futures fell 0.30% to $53.90, while Brent oil inched up 0.02% to $56.97.

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Turkey stocks higher at close of trade; BIST 100 up 0.37%

– Turkey stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Wood, Paper&Printing, Telecoms and Information Technology sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Istanbul, the BIST 100 added 0.37% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the BIST 100 were Bagfas (IS:BAGFS), which rose 6.11% or 0.58 points to trade at 10.08 at the close. Meanwhile, Hurriyet Gzt. (IS:HURGZ) added 5.71% or 0.040 points to end at 0.740 and Dogan Holding (IS:DOHOL) was up 5.41% or 0.040 points to 0.780 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Alarko Gmyo (IS:ALGYO), which fell 1.85% or 0.68 points to trade at 36.04 at the close. Gsd Holding (IS:GSDHO) declined 1.79% or 0.010 points to end at 0.550 and Pegasus (IS:PGSUS) was down 1.62% or 0.220 points to 13.320.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Istanbul Stock Exchange by 222 to 109 and 77 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.85% or 9.65 to $1150.55 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.04% or 0.02 to hit $54.08 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.42% or 0.24 to trade at $57.20 a barrel.

USD/TRY was down 0.58% to 3.5191, while EUR/TRY rose 0.16% to 3.6926.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.48% at 102.74.

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U.S. Gasoline Inventories -1.593M vs. 1.320M forecast


In a report, US Energy Information Administration said that U.S. Gasoline Inventories fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of -1.593M, from -1.309M in the preceding quarter.

Analysts had expected U.S. Gasoline Inventories to rise 1.320M in the last quarter.]]> https://ca33f332e2199349c49c-dc74b5af55c9b2a1bd8891aa9e8701fc.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/news/LYNXMPEA6708U_M.jpg © Reuters.

U.S. Natural Gas Storage -237B vs. -222B forecast


In a report, Energy Information Administration said that U.S. Natural Gas Storage fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of -237B, from -209B in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected U.S. Natural Gas Storage to fall -222B last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/oil_storage-tanks_2_M_1440051511.jpg

U.S. jobless claims fall slightly less than expected

- The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week decreased slightly less than expected last week but remained in territory consistent with a firming labor market, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending December 24 decreased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 265,000 from the previous week’s total of 275,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 11,000 to 264,000 last week.

The Department of Labor indicated that there were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims and that it marked 95 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970.

First-time jobless claims below the 300,000-level are usually associated with a firming labor market.

Continuing jobless claims in the week ended December 17 unexpectedly rose to 2.102 million from 2.039 million in the preceding week, which was revised from 2.036 million.

Analysts had expected continuing claims to decrease to 2.030 million.

The four-week moving average was 263,000, a 750 decrease from the previous week's 263,750.

The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.

Immediately after the report, which was published simultaneously with the goods trade balance and wholesale inventories, EUR/USD was trading unchanged at 1.0448, GBP/USD was at 1.2235 from 1.2244 earlier, while USD/JPY traded at 116.76 compared to 116.82 before the release.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 103.00, compared to 103.02 ahead of the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat open. The Dow futures inched down 2 points, or 0.01%, the S&P 500 futures advanced 1 point, or 0.04%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 1 point, or 0.02%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,146.75 a troy ounce, compared to $1,145.85 ahead of the data, while U.S. crude oil traded at $53.90 a barrel from $54.03 earlier.

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Top 5 things to watch today

- Dollar rally loses steam ahead of New Year's.
Global stocks struggle in year-end trade.
Oil prices slip on bets for bearish supply report.
Toshiba (T:6502) shares sink again as financial worries deepen.
Bitcoin prices extend rally to $985.

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United Arab Emirates stocks higher at close of trade; DFM General up 0.32%

– United Arab Emirates stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Telecoms, Insurance and Transport sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Dubai, the DFM General added 0.32%, while the ADX General index climbed 1.67%.

The best performers of the session on the DFM General were Takaful House (DU:DTKF), which rose 14.29% or 0.160 points to trade at 1.280 at the close. Meanwhile, Dubai Islamic Insurance Co. (DU:AMAN) added 4.65% or 0.028 points to end at 0.630 and Islamic Arab Insurance Company (DU:SALAMA) was up 2.96% or 0.015 points to 0.521 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Mashreqbank PSC (DU:MASB), which fell 4.62% or 3.00 points to trade at 62.00 at the close. Takaful Emarat PSC (DU:TKFE) declined 3.05% or 0.080 points to end at 2.540 and Union Properties PJSC (DU:UPRO) was down 0.88% or 0.010 points to 1.130.

The top performers on the ADX General were Gulf Cement Co (AD:GCEM) which rose 11.11% to 1.0000, Rak Cmt&Cons (AD:RAKC) which was up 10.81% to settle at 1.230 and Green Crs Ins (AD:GCIC) which gained 9.38% to close at 0.700.

The worst performers were Al Khazna Ins (AD:AKIC) which was down 2.70% to 0.360 in late trade, Rak Ceramics (AD:RKCE) which lost 2.00% to settle at 2.450 and Gulf Pharm Ind (AD:GPHI) which was down 1.36% to 2.170 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Dubai Stock Exchange by 19 to 15 and 9 ended unchanged; on the Abu Dhabi, 20 rose and 6 declined, while 11 ended unchanged.

Shares in Takaful House (DU:DTKF) rose to 52-week highs; up 14.29% or 0.160 to 1.280.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.30% or 0.16 to $53.90 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.16% or 0.09 to hit $57.05 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.59% or 6.70 to trade at $1147.60 a troy ounce.

USD/AED was down 0.01% to 3.6729, while EUR/AED rose 0.56% to 3.8466.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.48% at 102.74.

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Sri Lanka stocks higher at close of trade; CSE All-Share up 0.28%

– Sri Lanka stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Footwear&Textile, Palm Oil and Banking, Financials&Insurance sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share added 0.28%.

The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were Colombo Fort Investments PLC (CM:CFI), which rose 21.87% or 15.20 points to trade at 84.70 at the close. Meanwhile, Ceylinco Insurance PLC (CM:CINS) added 20.07% or 250.70 points to end at 1499.90 and Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC (CM:ASHO) was up 18.27% or 192.90 points to 1249.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Multi Finance PLC (CM:MULT), which fell 8.57% or 1.20 points to trade at 12.80 at the close. Beruwala Resorts PLC (CM:BERU) declined 8.33% or 0.100 points to end at 1.100 and Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide PLC (CM:BLUE) was down 6.25% or 0.10 points to 1.50.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 98 to 59 and 45 ended unchanged.

Shares in Beruwala Resorts PLC (CM:BERU) fell to all time lows; falling 8.33% or 0.100 to 1.100.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.18% or 0.10 to $53.96 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.21% or 0.12 to hit $57.08 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.57% or 6.45 to trade at $1147.35 a troy ounce.

GBP/LKR was up 0.21% to 183.380, while USD/LKR fell 0.13% to 149.530.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.46% at 102.76.

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Indonesia stocks higher at close of trade; IDX Composite Index up 1.79%

– Indonesia stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Miscellaneous Industry, Financials and Infrastructure sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Jakarta, the IDX Composite Index added 1.79%.

The best performers of the session on the IDX Composite Index were Dua Putra Utama Makmur PT (JK:DPUM), which rose 25.00% or 145 points to trade at 725 at the close. Meanwhile, Kedawung Setia Industrial Tbk (JK:KDSI) added 19.38% or 62 points to end at 382 and Indofarma Tbk (JK:INAF) was up 16.85% or 750 points to 5200 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Buana Listya Tama Tbk PT (JK:BULL), which fell 10.00% or 15 points to trade at 135 at the close. First Media Tbk (JK:KBLV) declined 10.00% or 150 points to end at 1350 and Eureka Prima Jakarta Tbk (JK:LCGP) was down 9.87% or 15 points to 137.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Jakarta Stock Exchange by 193 to 114 and 110 ended unchanged.

Shares in Kedawung Setia Industrial Tbk (JK:KDSI) rose to 52-week highs; up 19.38% or 62 to 382. Shares in Indofarma Tbk (JK:INAF) rose to all time highs; rising 16.85% or 750 to 5200.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.18% or 0.10 to $53.96 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.23% or 0.13 to hit $57.09 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.72% or 8.25 to trade at $1149.15 a troy ounce.

USD/IDR was down 0.19% to 13472.0, while AUD/IDR fell 0.08% to 9645.60.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.48% at 102.74.

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White House special advisor Icahn seeks regulatory reduction

-- Incoming White House special advisor Carl Icahn is seeking a regulatory reduction that will make it easier for U.S. corporations to raise capital, and hire new workers, according to press reports.

Icahn, 80, a long-time friend of President-elect Trump, and a billionaire investor, in his own right, is quoted this week as saying, "“You want jobs, you gotta have investment; you want investment, you gotta get rid of some regs.”

A sometimes gruff, admittedly "blue collar" native of the Queens borough of New York City, and graduate of Princeton University, Icahn is reported to have said that, under the current Obama administration, many corporations "see themselves at war with the government."

Reform of the implementing regulations at the Securities and Exhange Commission for the Sarbannes-Oxley law, and the Dodd-Frank legistation, might mark a peace treaty with corporate America, analysts said.

Don't think for a minute that Icahn, who made a career of taking over poorly managed, distressed public companies, wants to give carte blanche to corporations, or enact some Ayn Rand-style libertarian laissez-faire regime in Washington, however. He is quoted as saying, that there needs to be "better accountability in corporate America."

That position seems to conform to the vision outlined by another key Trump staff member, senior strategist and counsel to the incoming President, Steve Bannon, who called for a return to a more "spiritual" form of capitalism, rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, during remarks at the Vatican in 2014.

State capitalism, as practiced by the Russians and the Chinese, is of concern. But there is another worry as well for the new White House team. "The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism," said Bannon. "That form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the enlightened capitalism of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them."

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U.S. oil prices edge lower on bets for bearish supply report

- U.S. oil prices edged slightly lower in light pre-New Year holiday trade on Thursday, as market players awaited fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.

Crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped 20 cents, or around 0.4%, to $53.84 a barrel by 4:30AM ET (09:30GMT), after climbing 16 cents, or 0.3%, a day earlier.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 11:00AM ET (16:00GMT) Thursday, amid analyst expectations for a decline of 2.0 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories are expected to rise by 1.3 million barrels while stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, are forecast to increase by 1.8 million barrels.

The report comes out one day later than usual due to the holidays.

After markets closed Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories rose by 4.2 million barrels in the week ended December 23, surprising analysts who expected a 1.5-million-barrel decline.

The API report also showed a decline of 2.8 million barrels in gasoline stocks.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London inched up 2 cents, or 0.05%, to $56.99 a barrel, adding to the prior session's gain of 13 cents, or 0.23%.

London-traded Brent futures touched a 17-month high of $57.89 earlier this month, amid optimism over planned output cuts by major global oil producers.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers led by Russia have announced cutbacks of almost 1.8 million barrels per day in oil output starting from January 1, 2017 in an effort to bolster prices and support the market.

In a sign that the world's major oil producers may abide by their agreement, OPEC member Venezuela said it will cut 95,000 barrels per day of oil production in the new year.

Meanwhile, the members of an OPEC and non-OPEC committee formed to monitor the market may meet on January 21-22, according to Kuwaiti oil minister Essam Al-Marzouq, which may give an early indication of compliance with the deal.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for February added 0.5 cents, or 0.3% to $1.680 a gallon, while February heating oil tacked on 0.5 cents, or 0.3%, to $1.722 a gallon.

Natural gas futures for February delivery slumped 6.7 cents, or 1.7%, to $3.830 per million British thermal units.

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South Korean industrial production 4.8% vs. 2.2% forecast


In a report, Korea National Statistical Office said that South Korean Industrial Production rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.8%, from -1.3% in the preceding month whose figure was revised up from -1.6%.

Analysts had expected South Korean Industrial Production to rise to 2.2% last month.]]> https://ca33f332e2199349c49c-dc74b5af55c9b2a1bd8891aa9e8701fc.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/news/LYNXMPEA7K044_M.jpg © Reuters.

Norwegian retail sales 0.2% vs. 0.2% forecast


In a report, Statistics Norway said that Norwegian Retail Sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.2%, from 0.9% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected Norwegian Retail Sales to rise 0.2% last month.]]> https://ca33f332e2199349c49c-dc74b5af55c9b2a1bd8891aa9e8701fc.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/news/retail_sales_food_x_M_1440050306.jpg

Japan stocks lower at close of trade; Nikkei 225 down 1.32%

– Japan stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Shipbuilding, Steel and Power sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 declined 1.32%.

The best performers of the session on the Nikkei 225 were Taiheiyo Cement Corp. (T:5233), which rose 0.80% or 3.0 points to trade at 377.5 at the close. Meanwhile, Sapporo Holdings Ltd. (T:2501) added 0.67% or 20.0 points to end at 3010.0 and Olympus Corp. (T:7733) was up 0.63% or 25.0 points to 4025.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Toshiba Corp. (T:6502), which fell 16.78% or 52.3 points to trade at 259.3 at the close. SUMCO Corp. (T:3436) declined 5.08% or 81.0 points to end at 1514.0 and Tosoh Corp. (T:4042) was down 4.77% or 41.0 points to 819.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 2379 to 676 and 270 ended unchanged.

Shares in Taiheiyo Cement Corp. (T:5233) rose to 52-week highs; up 0.80% or 3.0 to 377.5.

The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was up 12.40% to 20.31.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.39% or 0.21 to $53.85 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.04% or 0.02 to hit $56.94 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.84% or 9.60 to trade at $1150.50 a troy ounce.

USD/JPY was down 0.73% to 116.38, while EUR/JPY fell 0.41% to 121.75.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.39% at 102.84.

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Gazprom reports 'basic engineering' underway for Nord Stream 2 pipeline

- A management committee of Gazprom (MCX:GAZP), the Russian oil and gas conglomerate, is reporting that basic engineering is now underway for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline's offshore and landfall sections in Germany and Russia.

Additionally, the company said geotechnical surveys are being completed in the Bay of Greifswald’s offshore and onshore areas the pipeline traverses.

A pair of National Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports are also under development, along with a comprehensive EIA report, according to the company.

Other news for the project, according to the company, includes:

-- This month, Nord Stream 2 AG and Allseas signed a "Letter of Intent" for laying the first offshore section of the pipleline, with the option to collaborate in the future.

-- This fall, the project operator Nord Stream 2 AG signed a contract with a subsidiary of Wasco Group for concrete weight coating, logistics, as well as storage of manufactured piping.

-- Pipes manufactured by United Metallurgical Company and Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant were delivered this past fall to the coating plant in Finland.

-- Pipes produced by Germany’s Europipe GmbH arrived at a coating facility in Germany, also during the fall.

The Nord Stream 2 is the construction of a two-string gas pipeline with the annual capacity of "55 billion cubic meters" running from Russia to Germany across the Baltic, according to the company.

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Mexico stocks higher at close of trade; IPC up 0.58%

– Mexico stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Materials, Financial Services and Industrials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Mexico, the IPC gained 0.58%.

The best performers of the session on the IPC were Grupo Mexico, S.A.B. De C.V. (MX:GMEXICOB), which rose 3.25% or 1.820 points to trade at 57.740 at the close. Meanwhile, Banregio Grupo Financiero SAB De CV (MX:GFREGIOO) added 3.13% or 3.430 points to end at 113.090 and Industrias Penoles Sab De CV (MX:PENOLES) was up 2.25% or 8.560 points to 389.400 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Kimberly - Clark De Mexico A (MX:KIMBERA), which fell 1.23% or 0.450 points to trade at 36.110 at the close. Genomma Lab Internacional SAB De CV (MX:LABB) declined 0.80% or 0.170 points to end at 21.110 and Grupo LALA SA de CV (MX:LALAB) was down 0.73% or 0.22 points to 30.06.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Mexico Stock Exchange by 121 to 102 and 13 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.31% or 3.55 to $1142.35 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.50% or 0.27 to hit $53.63 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.02% or 0.01 to trade at $56.67 a barrel.

USD/MXN was up 0.02% to 20.7531, while EUR/MXN fell 0.09% to 21.6025.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.23% at 103.24.

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Trump critical of U.N. as a troublemaker

- President-elect Donald J. Trump today criticized the U.N. as a failed organization, shortly after he spoke with President Obama.

The remarks came in the aftermath of a speech by current Secretary of State John Kerry which were critical of Israel, and which defended the U.S. from Israel's claims that the Obama White House covertly assisted in drafting an anti-Israeli resolution in the U.N. Security Council last week.

"His remarks speak for themselves," said Trump, in remarks in response to reporters' questions, covered by .

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tel Aviv has "uncontested evidence" that the resolution was brought to the U.N. by the U.S.

Trump expressed his concern about the U.N. being an international troublemaker.

"The U.N. once had tremendous potential," said the president-elect. "But when do you see the U.N. solving problems? They don't. They cause problems."

Separately, Trump said that Sprint Corp., the telecommunications carrier, has informed him that it is "bringing back 5,000 jobs" to the U.S. which had been outsourced, overseas. The president-elect also said that a company called One Web has also told him that it is bringing 3,000 new jobs to the U.S.

After nearly a decade of a declining economy in the U.S., overall, as jobs lost during the recession have been replaced by part-time, or temp jobs during the Obama era, Trump noted it was a "nice change" to report full-time, high-tech job growth.

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Gold, dollar up on Wednesday

- The price of gold increased considerably today, even though the dollar gained against the euro, the yen, and the pound.

Gold settled at $1142.90, an increase of $4.10, or 0.36%. The price of silver settled up today as well.

Expectations of higher U.S. economic growth also underpinned the gains of the greenback today.

The EUR/USD pairing settled at 1.0414, a decrease of 0.39%.

The USD/JPY pair settled at 117.15, or 0.19% down.

The GBP/USD pairing finished 1.2225, or 0.39% down.

The closing for the pound was a two-month low, analysts said.

The euro hit its one-week low against the dollar even though contracts to buy U.S. homes in November to the lowest in nearly a year, according to National Association of Realtors data.

President-elect Trump is expected to make an announcement about the economy this afternoon, after the close of markets.

The Chinese, a major consumer of gold, and a significant buyer of dollars, in the past, made an announcement in the media in Beijing earlier today indicating that there was going to be trade friction with the U.S., given the recent appointment of Prof. Navarro of University of California, Irvine, as industrial policy advisor.

Navarro has been critical of Chinese trade practices in print and in a major motion picture which he produced.

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Oil prices settled higher on Wednesday

- Oil prices closed higher on Wednesday, reaching an 18-month high on optimism over the impact over the forthcoming production cuts by OPEC and aligned producers.

Crude oil settled today at $53.91, down a cent per barrell, or 0.02%.

The intraday peak fell short of the year's high of $54.51 reached just weeks ago, on Dec. 12.

Brent oil settled at $56.20, or 0.11 per barrel, or 0.22%.

Oil prices have increased 25% since mid-November, helped by anticipation of a good outcome for OPEC's supply cut and strong U.S. economic figures that have also bolstered equity prices.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA), a division of the Department of Energy, is coming out with its final report on the year on Thursday. The report is delayed by a day, as it usually is issued on a Wednesday.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) issued a report after the close of markets today, which will likely have an impact on the attitudes of market players on Thursday.

OPEC is cutting 1.8 million barrels per day of production, and Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi said today his country, which plan cut supply by 200,000-210,000 bpd from January.

The remarks were made during a visit to Kuwait, which is also expected to trim output next year along with other OPEC members, and some producers in allied countries.

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Dow slips, as market momentum slows

- The major market indexes on Wall Street slipped on Wednesday, as post-election market momentum stalled.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped to 19833.68, down 113.36, or 0.56%.

The S&P 500 also declined, down at 2249.92, a decline of 18.96, or 0.84%.

The Nasdaq drpped a bit, a slip of 48.89, or 0.89%.

The Russell 2000 also went south, but the VIX was up.

Travelers Companies group up on the day, the leading gainer among equities on the Dow index.

Industrials like Boeing (NYSE:BA), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) led declines on the Dow.

Analysts are now saying that the market may have been too optimistic, in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, and raced up toward the 20,000 mark too quickly.

There now is a refining of expectations for the Dow and for stocks traded on other markets too, analysts said.

President-elect Trump is poised to release an economic statement for U.S. workers after the close of the markets, and the transition team members told members of the media this morning on a teleconference call that the message was expected to be "positive" in tone.

Trump is on a working vacation at his home in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, where he has in recent days released additional names of appointees to his incoming White House team.

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U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.56%

– U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Basic Materials, Utilities and Oil&Gas sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.56%, while the S&P 500 index lost 0.84%, and the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.89%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were The Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV), which rose 0.08% or 0.10 points to trade at 122.08 at the close. Meanwhile, Visa Inc (NYSE:V) fell 0.06% or 0.05 points to end at 78.30 and Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) was down 0.14% or 0.19 points to 135.07 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT), which fell 1.48% or 1.40 points to trade at 93.15 at the close. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) declined 1.19% or 0.44 points to end at 36.63 and Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) was down 0.88% or 1.38 points to 156.10.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Coach Inc (NYSE:COH) which rose 2.03% to 35.14, Allergan Plc (NYSE:AGN) which was up 1.78% to settle at 204.06 and Constellation Brands Inc (NYSE:STZ) which gained 0.83% to close at 152.39.

The worst performers were NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) which was down 6.88% to 109.25 in late trade, Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) which lost 4.74% to settle at 7.230 and Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) which was down 4.02% to 49.69 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Monster Digital Inc (NASDAQ:MSDI) which rose 76.50% to 2.15, Interpace Diagnostics Group Inc (NASDAQ:IDXG) which was up 29.76% to settle at 0.7500 and Dataram Corp (NASDAQ:DRAM) which gained 26.70% to close at 2.4200.

The worst performers were Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANTH) which was down 63.08% to 0.742 in late trade, Ignite Restaurant Group Inc (NASDAQ:IRG) which lost 23.61% to settle at 0.550 and Eco Stim Energy Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:ESES) which was down 18.52% to 1.100 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 2303 to 924 and 40 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1884 fell and 642 advanced, while 92 ended unchanged.

Shares in Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) fell to 3-years lows; losing 4.02% or 2.08 to 49.69. Shares in Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANTH) fell to all time lows; losing 63.08% or 1.268 to 0.742. Shares in Dataram Corp (NASDAQ:DRAM) rose to 52-week highs; up 26.70% or 0.5100 to 2.4200. Shares in Eco Stim Energy Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:ESES) fell to 3-years lows; losing 18.52% or 0.250 to 1.100.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 7.59% to 12.90.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.39% or 4.45 to $1143.25 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.04% or 0.02 to hit $53.92 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.12% or 0.07 to trade at $56.90 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.38% to 1.0415, while USD/JPY fell 0.20% to 117.17.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.20% at 103.21.

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Brazil stocks higher at close of trade; Bovespa up 1.85%

– Brazil stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Financials, Electric Power and Public Utilities sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Sao Paulo, the Bovespa added 1.85%.

The best performers of the session on the Bovespa were Cosan SA Industria e Comercio (SA:CSAN3), which rose 5.74% or 2.05 points to trade at 37.76 at the close. Meanwhile, Banco Santander Brasil SA (SA:SANB11) added 5.27% or 1.46 points to end at 29.19 and BB Seguridade Participacoes SA (SA:BBSE3) was up 4.01% or 1.08 points to 27.99 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Localiza Rent a Car SA (SA:RENT3), which fell 2.24% or 0.76 points to trade at 33.10 at the close. Gerdau SA (SA:GGBR4) declined 1.91% or 0.21 points to end at 10.77 and BR Malls Participacoes SA (SA:BRML3) was down 0.84% or 0.10 points to 11.75.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange by 232 to 123 and 40 ended unchanged.

Shares in Banco Santander Brasil SA (SA:SANB11) rose to all time highs; rising 5.27% or 1.46 to 29.19.

The CBOE Brazil Etf Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Bovespa options, was down 0.62% to 35.18.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.40% or 4.55 to $1143.35 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.09% or 0.05 to hit $53.95 a barrel, while the March US coffee C contract fell 1.06% or 1.43 to trade at $133.25 .

USD/BRL was up 0.29% to 3.2807, while EUR/BRL fell 0.17% to 3.4153.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.19% at 103.20.

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Colombia stocks higher at close of trade; COLCAP up 0.51%

– Colombia stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Investment, Industrials and Financials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Colombia, the COLCAP gained 0.51%.

The best performers of the session on the COLCAP were Grupo Argos SA (CN:ARG), which rose 1.60% or 300.0 points to trade at 19100.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Pfgrupoarg (CN:ARG_p) added 1.57% or 280.0 points to end at 18140.0 and Cemargos (CN:CCB) was up 1.37% or 160.0 points to 11860.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Banco De Bogota SA (CN:BBO), which fell 2.71% or 1680.0 points to trade at 60300.0 at the close. Conconcret (CN:CIC) declined 1.87% or 20.0 points to end at 1050.0 and Canacol Energy Ltd (CN:CNE) was down 1.57% or 160.0 points to 10040.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombia Stock Exchange by 17 to 7 and 2 ended unchanged.

US coffee C for March delivery was down 1.06% or 1.43 to $133.25 . Elsewhere in commodities trading, US cocoa for delivery in March fell 1.69% or 38.00 to hit $2205.50 , while the February Gold contract rose 0.40% or 4.50 to trade at $1143.30 a troy ounce.

USD/COP was up 0.84% to 3018.20, while BRL/COP rose 0.55% to 920.04.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.17% at 103.18.

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Argentinian industrial production -4.1% vs. -1.8% forecast


In a report, Instituto Nacional De Estadistic y Censos said that Argentinian Industrial Production rose to -4.1%, from -8.0% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected Argentinian Industrial Production to rise to -1.8% last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/manufacturing_2_M_1440050649.jpg

Spain stocks lower at close of trade; IBEX 35 down 0.34%

– Spain stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Consumer Services, Financial Services&Real Estate and Telecoms&IT sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Madrid, the IBEX 35 fell 0.34%.

The best performers of the session on the IBEX 35 were Arcel. Mittal (MC:MTS), which rose 1.70% or 0.120 points to trade at 7.190 at the close. Meanwhile, Tecnicas Reunidas (MC:TRE) added 0.57% or 0.220 points to end at 39.010 and Inditex (MC:ITX) was up 0.47% or 0.150 points to 32.395 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Aena Aeropuertos SA (MC:AENA), which fell 1.78% or 2.35 points to trade at 130.00 at the close. Banco Popular (MC:POP) declined 1.50% or 0.014 points to end at 0.920 and Merlin Properties SA (MC:MRL) was down 1.21% or 0.12 points to 10.21.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Madrid Stock Exchange by 90 to 74 and 27 ended unchanged.

Shares in Tecnicas Reunidas (MC:TRE) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 0.57% or 0.220 to 39.010.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.04% or 0.45 to $1139.25 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.48% or 0.26 to hit $54.16 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.39% or 0.22 to trade at $57.05 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.71% to 1.0381, while EUR/GBP fell 0.36% to 0.8496.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.50% at 103.51.

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Netherlands stocks higher at close of trade; AEX up 0.13%

– Netherlands stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Basic Materials, Oil&Gas and Technology sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Amsterdam, the AEX rose 0.13% to hit a new 52-week high.

The best performers of the session on the AEX were ArcelorMittal SA (AS:ISPA), which rose 1.84% or 0.130 points to trade at 7.197 at the close. Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell A (AS:RDSa) added 0.79% or 0.205 points to end at 26.245 and Vopak (AS:VOPA) was up 0.72% or 0.32 points to 44.81 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were NN Group (AS:NN), which fell 1.51% or 0.49 points to trade at 32.23 at the close. Unibail Rodamco SE (AS:UNBP) declined 1.21% or 2.70 points to end at 220.20 and Gemalto (AS:GTO) was down 1.03% or 0.57 points to 54.85.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by 75 to 53 and 8 ended unchanged.

The AEX Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of AEX options, was up 2.03% to 15.51.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.46% or 0.25 to $54.15 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.35% or 0.20 to hit $57.03 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.04% or 0.45 to trade at $1139.25 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.71% to 1.0381, while EUR/GBP fell 0.35% to 0.8497.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.50% at 103.51.

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Finland stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Helsinki 25 up 0.06%

– Finland stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Basic Materials, Industrials and Consumer Goods sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Helsinki, the OMX Helsinki 25 gained 0.06% to hit a new all time high.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Helsinki 25 were Metsa Board Oyj B (HE:METSB), which rose 1.06% or 0.070 points to trade at 6.690 at the close. Meanwhile, Metso Oyj (HE:METSO) added 0.95% or 0.26 points to end at 27.51 and Cargotec Oyj (HE:CGCBV) was up 0.87% or 0.37 points to 42.84 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Nokia Oyj (HE:NOKIA), which fell 1.32% or 0.062 points to trade at 4.624 at the close. Elisa Oyj (HE:ELISA) declined 0.75% or 0.23 points to end at 30.51 and Kesko Oyj B (HE:KESBV) was down 0.46% or 0.22 points to 47.31.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Helsinki Stock Exchange by 85 to 56 and 14 ended unchanged.

Shares in Cargotec Oyj (HE:CGCBV) rose to 5-year highs; gaining 0.87% or 0.37 to 42.84.

Brent oil for March delivery was up 0.40% or 0.23 to $57.06 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.50% or 0.27 to hit $54.17 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.00% or 0.05 to trade at $1138.75 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.77% to 1.0374, while EUR/GBP fell 0.38% to 0.8495.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.54% at 103.56.

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Belgium stocks higher at close of trade; BEL 20 up 0.06%

– Belgium stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Basic Materials, Technology and Consumer Goods sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Brussels, the BEL 20 rose 0.06% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the BEL 20 were Umicore NV (BR:UMI), which rose 1.08% or 0.58 points to trade at 54.26 at the close. Meanwhile, Galapagos NV (AS:GLPG) added 0.64% or 0.390 points to end at 61.380 and Solvay SA (BR:SOLB) was up 0.54% or 0.60 points to 112.30 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Telenet Group (BR:TNET), which fell 0.81% or 0.43 points to trade at 52.62 at the close. Proximus NV (BR:PROX) declined 0.73% or 0.20 points to end at 27.02 and Ageas (BR:AGES) was down 0.57% or 0.215 points to 37.630.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Brussels Stock Exchange by 57 to 46 and 14 ended unchanged.

Shares in Solvay SA (BR:SOLB) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 0.54% or 0.60 to 112.30.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.06% or 0.65 to $1139.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.48% or 0.26 to hit $54.16 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.39% or 0.22 to trade at $57.05 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.73% to 1.0379, while EUR/GBP fell 0.34% to 0.8498.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.51% at 103.53.

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U.K. stocks higher at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 up 0.56%

– U.K. stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Forestry&Paper, Mining and Industrial Engineering sectors led shares higher.

At the close in London, the United Kingdom 100 added 0.56% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the United Kingdom 100 were Fresnillo PLC (LON:FRES), which rose 5.22% or 58.00 points to trade at 1170.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Randgold Resources Ltd (LON:RRS) added 4.88% or 285.00 points to end at 6120.00 and BHP Billiton PLC (LON:BLT) was up 4.29% or 54.00 points to 1311.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Land Securities Group PLC (LON:LAND), which fell 2.90% or 31.00 points to trade at 1039.00 at the close. British Land Company PLC (LON:BLND) declined 2.89% or 18.50 points to end at 622.50 and International Consolidated Airlines Group S.A. (LON:ICAG) was down 2.76% or 12.60 points to 444.60.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the London Stock Exchange by 1158 to 656 and 459 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.09% or 1.05 to $1139.85 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.50% or 0.27 to hit $54.17 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.42% or 0.24 to trade at $57.07 a barrel.

GBP/USD was down 0.42% to 1.2220, while EUR/GBP fell 0.36% to 0.8496.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.49% at 103.50.

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Germany stocks higher at close of trade; DAX up 0.02%

– Germany stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Basic Resources, Food&Beverages and Retail sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Frankfurt, the DAX gained 0.02% to hit a new 52-week high, while the MDAX index added 0.06%, and the TecDAX index climbed 0.09%.

The best performers of the session on the DAX were Adidas AG (DE:ADSGN), which rose 1.17% or 1.700 points to trade at 147.250 at the close. Meanwhile, Thyssenkrupp AG O.N. (DE:TKAG) added 1.08% or 0.245 points to end at 22.855 and Linde AG O.N. (DE:LING) was up 0.57% or 0.900 points to 158.700 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Lufthansa AG VNA O.N. (DE:LHAG), which fell 2.49% or 0.320 points to trade at 12.555 at the close. Commerzbank AG O.N. (DE:CBKG) declined 1.73% or 0.129 points to end at 7.321 and Prosiebensat 1 Media AG (DE:PSMGn) was down 1.10% or 0.405 points to 36.525.

The top performers on the MDAX were Lanxess AG (DE:LXSG) which rose 1.80% to 63.410, Zalando SE (DE:ZALG) which was up 1.73% to settle at 36.36 and Salzgitter AG (DE:SZGG) which gained 1.69% to close at 33.620.

The worst performers were RTL Group SA (DE:RRTL) which was down 1.44% to 69.040 in late trade, Krones AG O.N. (DE:KRNG) which lost 1.16% to settle at 86.920 and Alstria Office Reit-Ag (DE:AOXG) which was down 1.02% to 11.665 at the close.

The top performers on the TecDAX were GFT Technologies AG (DE:GFTG) which rose 6.30% to 21.095, Evotec AG O.N. (DE:EVTG) which was up 2.85% to settle at 7.427 and Siltronic AG (DE:WAFGn) which gained 2.28% to close at 45.400.

The worst performers were S&T AG (F:SANT1) which was down 1.15% to 8.480 in late trade, Slm Solution G (DE:AM3D) which lost 1.05% to settle at 32.16 and Telefonica Deutschland Holding AG (DE:O2Dn) which was down 0.88% to 4.052 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by 414 to 337 and 37 ended unchanged.

Shares in Lanxess AG (DE:LXSG) rose to 3-years highs; rising 1.80% or 1.120 to 63.410. Shares in Evotec AG O.N. (DE:EVTG) rose to 5-year highs; gaining 2.85% or 0.206 to 7.427.

The DAX volatility index, which measures the implied volatility of DAX options, was up 2.56% to 16.94.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.08% or 0.95 to $1139.75 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.50% or 0.27 to hit $54.17 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.40% or 0.23 to trade at $57.06 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.71% to 1.0381, while EUR/GBP fell 0.35% to 0.8497.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.50% at 103.51.

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Sweden stocks lower at close of trade; OMX Stockholm 30 down 0.39%

– Sweden stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Telecoms, Financials and Consumer Goods sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Stockholm, the OMX Stockholm 30 declined 0.39%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Stockholm 30 were Boliden AB (ST:BOL), which rose 1.26% or 3.00 points to trade at 240.80 at the close. Meanwhile, SSAB AB ser. A (ST:SSABa) added 0.42% or 0.15 points to end at 35.64 and ASSA ABLOY AB ser. B (ST:ASSAb) was up 0.35% or 0.6 points to 171.3 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Nokia Oyj (ST:NOKIA), which fell 2.08% or 0.94 points to trade at 44.20 at the close. Telia Company AB (ST:TELIA) declined 1.13% or 0.42 points to end at 36.60 and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson B (ST:ERICb) was down 0.89% or 0.48 points to 53.67.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Stockholm Stock Exchange by 287 to 284 and 96 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.56% or 0.30 to $54.20 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.46% or 0.26 to hit $57.09 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.12% or 1.35 to trade at $1140.15 a troy ounce.

EUR/SEK was down 0.80% to 9.5666, while USD/SEK fell 0.19% to 9.2088.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.43% at 103.44.

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Morocco stocks lower at close of trade; Moroccan All Shares down 0.15%

– Morocco stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Utilities, Beverage and Hotels, Restaurants&Leisure sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Casablanca, the Moroccan All Shares lost 0.15%.

The best performers of the session on the Moroccan All Shares were Med Paper (CS:PAP), which rose 9.97% or 2.38 points to trade at 26.24 at the close. Meanwhile, Snep (CS:SNP) added 7.56% or 11.95 points to end at 170.10 and AFMA SA (CS:AFM) was up 6.13% or 49 points to 849 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Lydec (CS:LYD), which fell 6.65% or 36.00 points to trade at 505.00 at the close. BMCI (CS:BMCI) declined 6.25% or 40 points to end at 600 and Taqa Morocco SA (CS:TQM) was down 4.81% or 37.90 points to 750.10.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Casablanca Stock Exchange by 28 to 21 and 5 ended unchanged.

Shares in Med Paper (CS:PAP) rose to 52-week highs; up 9.97% or 2.38 to 26.24. Shares in Snep (CS:SNP) rose to 52-week highs; up 7.56% or 11.95 to 170.10.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.56% or 0.30 to $54.20 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.46% or 0.26 to hit $57.09 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.12% or 1.35 to trade at $1140.15 a troy ounce.

EUR/MAD was down 0.40% to 10.5950, while USD/MAD rose 0.41% to 10.1995.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.43% at 103.44.

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Greece stocks higher at close of trade; Athens General-Composite up 0.07%

– Greece stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Travel, Telecoms and Retail sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Athens, the Athens General-Composite rose 0.07%.

The best performers of the session on the Athens General-Composite were Selonda Aquaculture SA (AT:SELr), which rose 9.79% or 0.0140 points to trade at 0.1570 at the close. Meanwhile, Intralot (AT:INLr) added 3.92% or 0.040 points to end at 1.060 and FHL I Kiriakidis Marbles and Granites SA (AT:KRKr) was up 2.93% or 0.090 points to 3.170 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Athens Water (AT:EYDr), which fell 5.19% or 0.30 points to trade at 5.48 at the close. Euro Reliance (AT:EREr) declined 4.81% or 0.100 points to end at 1.980 and AS Company SA (AT:ASCr) was down 3.24% or 0.023 points to 0.687.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Athens Stock Exchange by 50 to 43 and 17 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.08% or 0.95 to $1139.75 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.41% or 0.22 to hit $54.12 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.39% or 0.22 to trade at $57.05 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.61% to 1.0391, while EUR/GBP fell 0.38% to 0.8495.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.41% at 103.42.

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U.S. pending home sales unexpectedly fall in November

- Pending home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in November to its second lowest reading this year, dampening optimism over the health of the housing sector, industry data showed on Wednesday.

In a report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its pending home sales index fell by a seasonally adjusted 2.5% last month, missing expectations for an increase of 0.5%.

The pending home sales index decreased to 107.3 from the prior 110.0. That was the lowest level since January.

Year-on-year, pending home sales decreased at an annualized rate of 0.4% in November.

NAR chief economist Larry Yun said that ongoing supply shortages and the surge in mortgage rates took “a small bite” out of the data.

"The budget of many prospective buyers last month was dealt an abrupt hit by the quick ascension of rates immediately after the election,” he said.

"Already faced with climbing home prices and minimal listings in the affordable price range, fewer home shoppers in most of the country were successfully able to sign a contract," Yun explained.

After the report, EUR/USD was trading at 1.0394 from around 1.0398 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.2210 from 1.2217 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 117.59 from 117.67 earlier.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was unchanged at 103.43.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets traded lower after the open. The Dow 30 dropped 0.08%, the S&P 500 lost 0.38%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.34%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,139.45 a troy ounce, compared to $1,139.35 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $53.97 a barrel from $54.15 earlier.

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U.S. natural gas edges lower amid year-end profit-taking

- U.S. natural gas futures edged lower in light pre-New Year holiday trade on Wednesday, as market players took profits on a recent rally which took prices to near a two-year peak.

Natural gas for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped 3.5 cents, or 0.93%, to $3.739 per million British thermal units by 9:40AM ET (14:40GMT).

Prices rallied by around 20.0 cents, or 6%, over the past two trading sessions amid colder forecasts for January.

Trading volumes are expected to remain light this week due to the holiday period as many investors already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market, which could exaggerate market moves.

Market participants awaited weekly storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw in a range between 220 and 233 billion cubic feet in the week ended December 23.

If correct, that would be the biggest draw for the week since at least 1994.

That compares with a withdrawal of 209 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 58 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 80 billion cubic feet.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.597 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 5.9% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 2.1% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Analysts forecast the amount of gas in storage would fall below weekly five-year averages by year-end for the first time since May 2015.

Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models predicted that portions of the West and northern U.S. will be hit with rain, snow and slightly cool temperatures over the next few days.

Looking ahead, Artic air is expected into the West and then spreading south and east in the first week of January, boosting demand expectations for the heating fuel.

Natural gas prices typically rise during the winter as colder weather sparks indoor-heating demand. About half of U.S. homes use natural gas for heating.

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Bitcoin prices rally past $960; next stop $1,000

- Web-based digital currency bitcoin extended its recent rally in pre-New Year holiday trade on Wednesday, hitting its highest levels since January 2014 amid bullish momentum.

Bitcoin was trading as high as $963.44 on the New York-based itBit exchange, before falling back to $963.39 by 8:40AM ET (13:40GMT), up around 3.4% on the day.

According to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index, which averages prices from the major exchanges, prices of the crypto-currency rose 3.3%, to $961.84.

Elsewhere, yuan-denominated Bitcoin prices on Beijing-based Bitcoin OKCoin jumped 3.3% to $967.03.

The digital currency is up almost 30% so far this month amid heavy buying from China and India, as investors look to shield themselves from currency devaluations and cash shortages.

U.S. and European buyers also accounted for the bulk of trading volume, as traders look for safe havens following dramatic political shifts in the world economy.

For the year, Bitcoin is up a whopping 95%, making it one of the best performing assets of 2016.

Analysts say prices of the digital currency look set to test all-time highs of $1,216 in 2017 amid rising demand for alternative assets.

Bitcoin is digital cash and is not backed by a government or central bank to regulate or issue it. It can be used to purchase goods and services from stores and online retailers.

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Saudi Arabia stocks lower at close of trade; Tadawul All Share down 0.23%

– Saudi Arabia stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Energy&Utilities, Media&Publishing and Financial Services sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share lost 0.23%.

The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were National Petrochemical Company (SE:2002), which rose 10.41% or 2.05 points to trade at 21.75 at the close. Meanwhile, Methanol Chemicals Company (SE:2001) added 8.50% or 0.65 points to end at 8.30 and Saudi Int Petrochemical Co (SE:2310) was up 5.38% or 1.00 points to 19.60 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Saudi Electricity Company (SE:5110), which fell 2.61% or 0.60 points to trade at 22.40 at the close. Saudi Arabian Cooperative Insurance (SE:8100) declined 2.08% or 0.40 points to end at 18.80 and Samba Financial Group (SE:1090) was down 2.00% or 0.50 points to 24.50.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 79 to 67 and 23 ended unchanged.

Shares in National Petrochemical Company (SE:2002) rose to 52-week highs; up 10.41% or 2.05 to 21.75. Shares in Methanol Chemicals Company (SE:2001) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 8.50% or 0.65 to 8.30. Shares in Saudi Int Petrochemical Co (SE:2310) rose to 52-week highs; rising 5.38% or 1.00 to 19.60.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.46% or 0.25 to $53.65 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.23% or 0.13 to hit $56.70 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.15% or 1.75 to trade at $1140.55 a troy ounce.

EUR/SAR was down 0.56% to 3.9013, while USD/SAR fell 0.01% to 3.7511.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.40% at 103.41.

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Wall St. points to higher open; Dow inches toward 20,000

- U.S. stock markets pointed to a slightly higher open on Wednesday morning, with the Dow remaining within striking distance of the psychologically important milestone of 20,000 in light pre-New Year holiday trade.

The blue-chip Dow futures inched up 30 points, or 0.15%, by 7:10AM ET (12:10GMT), the S&P 500 futures tacked on 5 points, or 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures added 13 points, or 0.25%.

Wall Street ended higher in low volume trade on Tuesday, with gains in technology shares lifting the Nasdaq Composite to a record close, while the Dow came within 20 points of hitting 20,000.

No earnings are expected to be released on Wednesday.

On the data front, the National Association of Realtors is to release data on November pending home sales at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT). The report is expected to show pending home sales rose 0.5% last month, after inching up 0.1% in October.

U.S. stocks have rallied sharply since the November 8 election day market close in what many analysts refer to as the “Trump rally” on the back of hopes that the incoming president will implement fiscal policies that will spur growth and be positive for stocks.

However, market participants have so far balked at the psychologically important 20,000-point level, with experts suggesting that Trump will need to follow through on expectations in order for stocks to be able to maintain the upward momentum.

Elsewhere, European stock markets struggled for direction in quiet holiday-thinned trade. Earlier, in Asia, shares were mixed amid low-volume trading.

Meanwhile, oil prices extended strong overnight gains to near the highest levels of the year amid optimism over planned output cuts by major global oil producers.

U.S. crude was up 25 cents, or 0.45%, to $54.15, within sight of a one-and-a-half-year peak of $54.51 logged on December 12, while Brent tacked on 35 cents, or 0.6%, to $57.17 a barrel, not far from a 17-month high of $57.89 touched earlier in December.

In the currency market, the dollar ticked up against the other major currencies, after previous day's data showed U.S. consumer confidence hitting its highest level in more than 15 years in December, in addition to robust housing numbers.

The upbeat reports helped underscore expectations that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates at a faster pace next year.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.3% at 103.32, not far from last week's 14-year peak of 103.62.

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United Arab Emirates stocks mixed at close of trade; DFM General down 0.63%

– United Arab Emirates stocks were mixed after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Insurance, Telecoms and Banking sectors led shares higher while losses in the Real Estate&Construction, Finance&Investment and Consumer Staples sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Dubai, the DFM General lost 0.63%, while the ADX General index gained 0.06%.

The best performers of the session on the DFM General were Takaful House (DU:DTKF), which rose 7.69% or 0.080 points to trade at 1.120 at the close. Meanwhile, Dubai Islamic Insurance Co. (DU:AMAN) added 5.24% or 0.030 points to end at 0.602 and Marka Pjse (DU:MARKA) was up 2.67% or 0.04 points to 1.54 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Emaar Properties PJSC (DU:EMAR), which fell 2.46% or 0.180 points to trade at 7.140 at the close. Dubai Investments PJSC (DU:DINV) declined 1.25% or 0.030 points to end at 2.370 and ARAMEX PJSC (DU:ARMX) was down 1.23% or 0.050 points to 4.000.

The top performers on the ADX General were Em Driving Co (AD:DRIV) which rose 15.00% to 8.05, Green Crs Ins (AD:GCIC) which was up 6.67% to settle at 0.640 and Rak Ceramics (AD:RKCE) which gained 4.17% to close at 2.500.

The worst performers were Methaq (AD:METH) which was down 3.23% to 0.900 in late trade, Int Fish Farmi (AD:ASMK) which lost 3.11% to settle at 1.87 and Rak Cement Co (AD:RKCC) which was down 2.67% to 0.730 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Dubai Stock Exchange by 20 to 12 and 6 ended unchanged; on the Abu Dhabi, 14 rose and 13 declined, while 3 ended unchanged.

Shares in Em Driving Co (AD:DRIV) rose to all time highs; rising 15.00% or 1.05 to 8.05.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.48% or 0.26 to $54.16 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.56% or 0.32 to hit $57.15 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.07% or 0.80 to trade at $1138.00 a troy ounce.

USD/AED was up 0.01% to 3.6730, while EUR/AED fell 0.24% to 3.8311.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.24% at 103.25.

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Top 5 Things to Know In the Market on Wednesday

- Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, December 28:

1. Oil continues rally near 17-month high as output cuts loom

Oil prices extended strong overnight gains amid thinning pre-New Year holiday trade on Wednesday, less than a week before major global oil producers begin to scale back production in line with the deal they struck last month.

Despite low volume, crude was on track to log a 9-day winning streak on Wednesday, its longest since January 2010.

OPEC members agreed to reduce output by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day starting from January 1, their first such deal since 2008.

The pact was followed by an agreement from 11 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut their supplies by 558,000 barrels a day, bringing the total to almost 1.8 million barrels per day.

Optimism over the deal continued on Wednesday ahead of a report on weekly U.S. crude inventories from the American Petroleum Institute (API) out later in the session, followed by the official report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday.

The reports are released one day later than normal due to last Monday’s holiday.

U.S. crude oil futures gained 0.46% to $54.15 at 6:20AM ET (11:20GMT), while Brent oil traded up 0.56% to $57.15.

2. Trump takes credit for consumer confidence in “wait-and-see” context

In a late night tweet, President-elect Donald Trump took credit for the rise in U.S. consumer confidence to its highest level in more than 15 years, as investors prepared to once again face the psychological 20,000 point level in the Dow Jones.

The blue-chip index has gained around 9% since the November 8 election day market close in what many analysts refer to as the “Trump rally” on the back of hopes that the incoming president will implement fiscal policies that will spur growth and be positive for stocks.

However, market participants have balked at the psychologically important 20,000 point level, with experts suggesting that Trump will need to follow through on expectations in order for stocks to be able to maintain the upward momentum.

“Looking ahead to 2017, consumers’ continued optimism will depend on whether or not their expectations are realized,” the report on confidence that Trump cited pointed out on Tuesday, referring to the follow-through on the post-election surge in optimism.

With many traders still on holidays, the metaphor could aptly be applied to investor sentiment for the New Year.

With the Dow still below the all-time high reached on December 20 of 19,987.63 points, U.S. futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday. At 6:23AM ET (11:23GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures gained 0.15%, S&P 500 futures traded up 0.19% and the Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.26%.

3. Dollar continues upward move with eyes on Trump and data

The U.S. dollar moved higher against major rivals for a second-day running on Wednesday as the prior day’s positive read on consumer sentiment continued to support the greenback.

Hopes that policy moves by the incoming Trump Administration would not only spur economic growth, but accelerate inflation, leading to further rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in 2017, led to close to a 6% rally in the dollar since the U.S. election in early November.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.31% at 103.33 by 6:26AM ET (11:26GMT).

With only the November pending home sales on Wednesday’s economic docket, investors were looking ahead to the U.S. employment report on January 6 as the major data that could shift sentiment in the American currency.

4. Toshiba crashes 20%, wiping $5 billion off stock value

Toshiba Corp. (T:6502) said late Tuesday that cost overruns at the U.S. nuclear business CB&I that it bought last year meant it could face “several billion dollars” in a write down.

The news sent its shares down 20%, hitting the Tokyo stock exchange’s daily downward limit and following a 12% drop the prior day after initial warnings were made.

The two day loss wiped out about $5 billion in the Japanese conglomerate’s stock value, taking it below its rival Sharp for the first time in seven years.

Rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Toshiba, already in junk territory, to B- from B, with a "negative" outlook.

5. China bank regulator official urges cut in required reserve ratio

China Banking Regulatory Commission official Yu Xuejun said on Wednesday that the requirement for the amount of cash reserves Chinese banks must hold was “very high” and insisted that it should be reduced at the “appropriate time”, according to a report from Shanghai Securities News.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has kept the required reserve ratio (RRR) at 17% since last February after four reductions in 2016.

Lowering the RRR allows banks to lend out more money, increasing credit expansion.

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India stocks mixed at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 0.02%

– India stocks were mixed after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Healthcare, Fast Moving Consumer Goods and Technology sectors led shares higher while losses in the Oil&Gas, Capital Goods and Green Energy sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 added 0.02%, while the BSE Sensex 30 index declined 0.01%.

The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Bharti Infratel Limited (NS:BHRI), which rose 2.43% or 8.050 points to trade at 339.900 at the close. Meanwhile, Coal India Limited (NS:COAL) added 2.28% or 6.60 points to end at 295.55 and Idea Cellular Ltd (NS:IDEA) was up 2.00% or 1.40 points to 71.40 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Tata Motors DV Ltd (NS:TAMdv), which fell 1.75% or 5.20 points to trade at 291.50 at the close. Yes Bank Ltd. (NS:YESB) declined 1.42% or 16.00 points to end at 1112.00 and Reliance Industries Ltd (NS:RELI) was down 1.27% or 13.55 points to 1051.15.

The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were Coal India Limited (BO:COAL) which rose 2.06% to 295.30, Wipro Ltd. (BO:WIPR) which was up 1.36% to settle at 470.30 and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. (BO:REDY) which gained 1.15% to close at 3070.50.

The worst performers were Reliance Industries Ltd (BO:RELI) which was down 1.15% to 1052.20 in late trade, TATA STEEL LIMITED (BO:TISC) which lost 1.13% to settle at 388.30 and Hero MotoCorp Limited (BO:HROM) which was down 0.96% to 3004.80 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 930 to 546 and 63 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1486 rose and 1078 declined, while 172 ended unchanged.

The India Vix, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was up 3.05% to 15.5425.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.15% or 1.75 to $1140.55 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.65% or 0.35 to hit $54.25 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.69% or 0.39 to trade at $57.22 a barrel.

USD/INR was up 0.28% to 68.168, while EUR/INR rose 0.09% to 71.1319.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.18% at 103.19.

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Indonesia stocks higher at close of trade; IDX Composite Index up 2.09%

– Indonesia stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Consumer Industry, Property and Manufacturing sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Jakarta, the IDX Composite Index added 2.09%.

The best performers of the session on the IDX Composite Index were Akbar Indomakmur Stimec Tbk (JK:AIMS), which rose 34.29% or 48 points to trade at 188 at the close. Meanwhile, Lion Metal Works Tbk (JK:LION) added 21.62% or 160.00 points to end at 900.00 and Kino Indonesia Tbk PT (JK:KINO) was up 19.57% or 450 points to 2750 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Centratama Telekomunikasi Ind (JK:CENT), which fell 10.00% or 16 points to trade at 144 at the close. Nusantara Inti Corpora Tbk (JK:UNIT) declined 10.00% or 36.00 points to end at 324.00 and Arthavest Tbk (JK:ARTA) was down 10.00% or 30 points to 270.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Jakarta Stock Exchange by 245 to 80 and 103 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.59% or 0.32 to $54.22 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.65% or 0.37 to hit $57.20 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.24% or 2.75 to trade at $1141.55 a troy ounce.

USD/IDR was up 0.24% to 13461.8, while AUD/IDR rose 0.25% to 9679.60.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.12% at 103.12.

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European stocks mixed as FTSE returns to trade; Dax trades flat

- European stocks traded mixed on Wednesday following the pattern set in Asia, despite a positive close stateside in the prior session.

During European morning trade, the Euro Stoxx 50 slipped 0.01%, France’s CAC 40 was unchanged, while Germany’s DAX 30 inched up 0.02%.

Holiday trade continued with London traders coming back to their desks on Wednesday for the first time after their long Christmas holiday.

Asian stocks traded mostly lower on Wednesday with the exception of the Australian stock market, that like the U.K., returned from a four-day Christmas break.
Japan was a major focus on the economic front with November industrial production rising less than expected but retail sales for the region jumping almost twice as much as forecast.

The Nikkei 225 ended flat however as a 20% crash in shares of Toshiba Corp. (T:6502) offset a weaker yen. The Nikkei newspaper reported that the electronics firm would book a 100 billion yen ($850 million) loss on an acquisition made last year.

On a slow company news day, Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p) was in investors’ sights after having acquired the Canadian maker of a parking payment app PayByPhone for an undisclosed amount.

French drugmaker Sanofi (PA:SASY) sued Danish rival Novo Nordisk (CO:NOVOb) on allegations that it falsely claimed that Sanofi’s insulin treatments would no longer be available in the U.S. in an attempt to promote its own product.

Eyes were also on European banks with Banca Monte dei Paschi (MI:BMPS) yet to return to trade after the European Central Bank upped its estimate of the Italian lender’s capital shortfall on Sunday.

Meanwhile, oil prices continued to rally on Wednesday, on track for its longest winning streak since January 2010, as investors remained optimistic that major oil producers would comply with their agreement to cut production starting in January.

Energy stocks traded higher, as French oil and gas major Total SA (PA:TOTF) gained 0.43%, Italy’s ENI (MI:ENI) inched up 0.07% and Norwegian rival Statoil (OL:STL) edged forward 0.06%.

Financial stocks remained under pressure, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) dropped 0.16% and 0.09%, while Germany’s Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) and Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) fell 0.81% and 1.25%, respectively.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) and Unicredit (MI:CRDI) traded down 0.41% and 0.35%, respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (MC:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MC:SAN) dropped 0.12% and 0.20%.

In London, the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.30% in its first day of trade since after the long holiday.

In focus, Bovis Homes (LON:BVS) tumbled nearly 5% after launching a profit warning due to slower-than-expected build production.

Mining stocks however supported gains in the British benchmark index. Shares in Glencore (LON:GLEN) rallied 2.66% and Anglo American (LON:AAL) advanced 3.33%, while BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) surged 4.02% and 2.80% respectively.

Energy stocks added to gains, as BP (LON:BP) advanced 0.24% and rival Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) added on 0.63%.

Financial stocks traded mixed, with shares in HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) up 1.19% but the Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) traded down 1.10%, while Barclays (LON:BARC) fell 0.40% and Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) lost 1.03%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a flat to lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.16%, S&P 500 futures advanced 0.20% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.29%.

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BBA mortgage approvals 40.7K vs. 41.6K forecast


In a report, British Bankers’ Association said that BAA mortgage approvals fell to a seasonally adjusted 40.7K, from 40.8K in the preceding month whose figure was revised down from 40.9K.

Analysts had expected BAA mortgage approvals to rise to 41.6K last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEA5T09Y_M.jpg © Reuters.

Oil prices near 17-month peak ahead of planned supply cuts

- Oil prices extended strong overnight gains amid thinning pre-New Year holiday trade on Wednesday, less than a week before major global oil producers begin to scale back production in line with the deal they struck last month.

Trading is expected to remain thin this week ahead of the New Year holiday.

Crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on 21 cents, or 0.39%, to $54.11 a barrel by 4:20AM ET (09:20GMT), after climbing 88 cents, or 1.66%, a day earlier.

New York-traded oil prices touched a one-and-a-half-year peak of $54.51 on December 12

Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London inched up 20 cents, or 0.35%, to $57.03 a barrel, adding to the prior session's gain of 93 cents, or 1.66%.

London-traded Brent futures recorded a 17-month high of $57.89 earlier this month.

OPEC members agreed to reduce output by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day starting from January 1, their first such deal since 2008.

The pact was followed by an agreement from 11 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut their supplies by 558,000 barrels a day, bringing the total to almost 1.8 million barrels per day.

In a sign that the world's oil major producers may abide by their agreement, OPEC member Venezuela said it will cut 95,000 barrels per day of oil production in the new year.

Meanwhile, the members of an OPEC and non-OPEC committee formed to monitor the market may meet on January 13, two sources said, which may give an early indication of compliance with the deal.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for February added 0.4 cents, or 0.25% to $1.658 a gallon, while February heating oil tacked on 0.5 cents, or 0.35%, to $1.723 a gallon.

Natural gas futures for February delivery slumped 6.5 cents, or 1.75%, to $3.701 per million British thermal units.

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Dollar rises against yen, euro, pound amid expectations for hawkish Fed

- The U.S. dollar inched higher against the other major currencies amid low-volume holiday trading on Wednesday, with markets focused on the possibility of further U.S. interest rate hikes next year.

Trading is expected to remain thin this week ahead of the New Year holiday.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.1% at 103.12 by 3:50AM ET (08:50GMT), not far from last week's 14-year peak of 103.62.

Against the yen, the dollar was up 0.2% at 117.63, crawling back towards a 10-1/2 month high of 118.65 set last week.

Meanwhile, the euro dipped 0.1% to against the greenback to 1.0445, not far from last week's 13-year low of 1.0352.

Elsewhere, the British pound dipped 0.1% to 1.2255 against the dollar, within sight of a seven-week low of 1.2229 touched late last week, amid renewed uncertainty over the process by which Britain will leave the European Union.

The greenback remained well-supported after previous day's data showed U.S. consumer confidence hitting its highest level in more than 15 years in December, in addition to robust housing numbers.

The data helped underscore expectations that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates at a faster pace next year.

Since the U.S. election in early November, the dollar has rallied by almost 6% thanks to bets of higher U.S. growth and a faster pace of interest rate increases under incoming president Donald Trump.

The Fed hiked interest rates for the first time in a year earlier this month and projected three more increases in 2017. In contrast, central banks in Europe and Japan remain committed to very loose monetary policies

Higher rates boost the dollar by making the currency more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

The National Association of Realtors is to release data on November pending home sales at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT) on Wednesday. The report is expected to show pending home sales rose 0.5% last month, after inching up 0.1% in October.

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Philippines stocks higher at close of trade; PSEi Composite up 2.83%

– Philippines stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Holding Firms, Property and Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Philippines, the PSEi Composite gained 2.83%.

The best performers of the session on the PSEi Composite were Ayala Land Inc (PS:ALI), which rose 5.14% or 1.550 points to trade at 31.700 at the close. Meanwhile, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc (PS:AEV) added 4.88% or 3.300 points to end at 70.900 and SM Investments Corp (PS:SM) was up 4.78% or 30.000 points to 657.000 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Petron Corp (PS:PCOR), which fell 2.00% or 0.200 points to trade at 9.800 at the close. Megaworld Corp (PS:MEG) declined 0.85% or 0.030 points to end at 3.480 and LT Group Inc (PS:LTG) was down 0.78% or 0.100 points to 12.700.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Philippines Stock Exchange by 118 to 57 and 47 ended unchanged.

Shares in LT Group Inc (PS:LTG) fell to 52-week lows; falling 0.78% or 0.100 to 12.700.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.29% or 3.35 to $1142.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.37% or 0.20 to hit $54.10 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.33% or 0.19 to trade at $57.02 a barrel.

CNY/PHP was up 0.05% to 7.1581, while USD/PHP unchanged 0.00% to 49.800.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.06% at 103.06.

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Frigid winter weather driving natural gas consumption to record levels

- Blasts of arctic winter winds during early December, and continuing throughout the month in the U.S., have quickly driven the price of natural gas up to record levels.

Natural gas prices surged to more than $3.70 per million Btu (MMBtu) in recent weeks, and also increased the share price of leading drillers, companies which had lost the confidence of investors.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), one of the nation's largest natural gas producers, has seen its per share price climb by more than 300% this year, and up by more than a third in just the past few months.

As gas prices continue to rise, analysts say, so will the company's share price.

Natural gas drillers are adding new rigs to their gas fields, analysts said.

These drilling companies are expanding at a number of gas formations, including the Marcellus and Utica Shales sites in Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as the Haynesville Shale site in Louisiana. The gas rig count is now up to 129, up more than 30% in recent weeks.

Most interestingly, analysts said, coal production may also increase in the short-term, in early 2017, if natural gas suppliers are not able to meet market demand.

The market developments mirror the industrial policy prescriptions of President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has called for increased natural gas production as a way to reduce overall energy costs for U.S. consumers and reduce harmful emissions.

Cheap natural gas is the primary reason for the decline of the U.S. coal industry, but Trump wants to bolster the industry's prospects by promoting "clean coal" technology, as he said on the campaign trail this past year.

Clean coal is a broad term that includes processes or techniques that mitigate emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that arise from the use of coal, mainly for electrical power generation. This includes carbon capture technology which isolates emissions, and stores them underground.

Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN), the investment bank, has reported that an investment in clean coal technology of $15 billion, globally, would be transformative for the industry and the environment.

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Taiwan stocks higher at close of trade; Taiwan Weighted up 1.01%

– Taiwan stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Optoelectronic, Electricity and Oil, Gas&Electricity sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Taiwan, the Taiwan Weighted gained 1.01%.

The best performers of the session on the Taiwan Weighted were Transasia (TW:6702), which rose 10.00% or 0.06 points to trade at 0.66 at the close. Meanwhile, Hannstar Displ (TW:6116) added 10.00% or 0.740 points to end at 8.140 and Yu Foung Intl (TW:1438) was up 10.00% or 0.380 points to 4.180 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Grape King (TW:1707), which fell 9.98% or 23.00 points to trade at 207.50 at the close. Choice Develop (TW:9929) declined 7.50% or 0.90 points to end at 11.10 and Copartner (TW:3550) was down 7.42% or 1.15 points to 14.35.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Taiwan Stock Exchange by 527 to 209 and 139 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.09% or 0.05 to $53.85 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.16% or 0.09 to hit $56.74 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.48% or 5.45 to trade at $1144.25 a troy ounce.

USD/TWD was up 0.15% to 32.326, while TWD/CNY rose 0.23% to 0.2160.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.11% at 102.89.

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Australia stocks higher at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 up 1.01%

– Australia stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Gold, Metals&Mining and Materials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.01% to hit a new 52-week high.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Resolute Mining Ltd (AX:RSG), which rose 11.06% or 0.115 points to trade at 1.155 at the close. Meanwhile, Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd (AX:SAR) added 9.70% or 0.080 points to end at 0.905 and Asaleo Care (AX:AHY) was up 7.25% or 0.100 points to 1.480 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Bega Cheese Ltd (AX:BGA), which fell 2.60% or 0.110 points to trade at 4.120 at the close. Caltex Australia Ltd (AX:CTX) declined 2.03% or 0.620 points to end at 29.980 and Myer Holdings Ltd (AX:MYR) was down 1.44% or 0.020 points to 1.370.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 666 to 319 and 272 ended unchanged.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 15.42% to 12.169.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.36% or 4.15 to $1142.95 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.19% or 0.10 to hit $53.80 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.21% or 0.12 to trade at $56.71 a barrel.

AUD/USD was up 0.26% to 0.7205, while AUD/JPY rose 0.41% to 84.72.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.09% at 102.91.

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Japan’s retail sales 1.7% vs. 0.9% forecast


In a report, the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry said that retail sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.7%, from -0.1% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected retail sales to rise at annual rate of to 0.9% last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEA8I0CO_M.jpg © Reuters.

Dow, Nasdaq closed higher, dollar posted gains on Tuesday

- Wall Street's major market indexes closed higher on Tuesday, as investors eyed retail shares as a proxy for holiday sales. The Dow failed to hit the 20,000.00 mark once again. The dollar posted gains as well.

The Russell 2000 Index closed up at 1378.49, up 0.51%.

The VIX closed at 11.91, up 4.11%, or 0.47.

The Dow closed at 19948.70.

The Nasdaq was up at 5487.44, a new record, and the S&P 500 also closed higher at 2268.87.

The dollar posted gains on Tuesday, reaching 117.61 yen, on consumer confidence data in the U.S. The dollar index was also up. Parity with the euro seems unattainable for now, but the dollar may reach 120 yen parity soon, analysts commented. Inflationary expectations about, as new infrastructure spending next year is likely to boost wages and pries.

The equities market was mostly quiet on Tuesday, but Democrats vowed to create turmoil next year when President-elect Trump takes office.

One fringe Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), announced that she would try to obstruct every policy the new president proposes, even those which have encouraged optimism on Wall Street during the last seven weeks since the election.

A study on consumer confidence released earlier today indicated that the confidence of U.S. consumers is at its highest level in 13 years, or since before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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Brazil stocks higher at close of trade; Bovespa up 0.13%

– Brazil stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Basic Materials, Industrials and Electric Power sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Sao Paulo, the Bovespa rose 0.13%.

The best performers of the session on the Bovespa were Cia Siderurgica Nacional SA (SA:CSNA3), which rose 5.61% or 0.57 points to trade at 10.73 at the close. Meanwhile, Metalurgica Gerdau SA (SA:GOAU4) added 4.11% or 0.19 points to end at 4.81 and Lojas Renner SA (SA:LREN3) was up 3.67% or 0.80 points to 22.60 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Cosan SA Industria e Comercio (SA:CSAN3), which fell 2.16% or 0.79 points to trade at 35.71 at the close. Cielo SA (SA:CIEL3) declined 2.14% or 0.60 points to end at 27.40 and Qualicorp SA (SA:QUAL3) was down 1.54% or 0.29 points to 18.59.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange by 196 to 180 and 32 ended unchanged.

The CBOE Brazil Etf Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Bovespa options, was up 2.77% to 35.30.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.60% or 6.75 to $1140.35 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 1.55% or 0.82 to hit $53.84 a barrel, while the March US coffee C contract fell 1.12% or 1.52 to trade at $134.68 .

USD/BRL was down 0.09% to 3.2710, while EUR/BRL fell 0.11% to 3.4204.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.08% at 103.03.

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Colombia stocks lower at close of trade; COLCAP down 0.04%

– Colombia stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Financials, Public Services and Agriculture sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Colombia, the COLCAP fell 0.04%.

The best performers of the session on the COLCAP were Pfgrupoarg (CN:ARG_p), which rose 2.13% or 380.0 points to trade at 18260.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Canacol Energy Ltd (CN:CNE) added 2.00% or 200.0 points to end at 10200.0 and Ecopetrol SA (CN:ECO) was up 0.74% or 10.0 points to 1365.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Cementos Argos Pf (CN:CCB_p), which fell 2.37% or 260.0 points to trade at 10700.0 at the close. Avianca Holdings Pf (CN:AVT_p) declined 0.97% or 35.0 points to end at 3555.0 and Bancolombia Pf (CN:BIC_p1) was down 0.74% or 200.0 points to 26980.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Colombia Stock Exchange by 12 to 10 and 4 ended unchanged.

US coffee C for March delivery was down 1.12% or 1.52 to $134.68 . Elsewhere in commodities trading, US cocoa for delivery in March fell 0.16% or 3.50 to hit $2243.50 , while the February Gold contract rose 0.59% or 6.70 to trade at $1140.30 a troy ounce.

USD/COP was down 0.13% to 2993.20, while BRL/COP fell 0.04% to 915.07.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.08% at 103.03.

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Denmark stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Copenhagen 20 up 0.34%

– Denmark stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Software&Computer Services, Technology and Chemicals sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Copenhagen, the OMX Copenhagen 20 rose 0.34% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Copenhagen 20 were Lundbeck A/S (CO:LUN), which rose 2.67% or 7.4 points to trade at 284.9 at the close. Meanwhile, Genmab (CO:GEN) added 2.28% or 26.0 points to end at 1167.0 and GN Store Nord (CO:GN) was up 1.71% or 2.5 points to 148.6 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Nets A/S (CO:NETS), which fell 1.02% or 1.30 points to trade at 126.00 at the close. Dong Energy A/S (CO:DENERG) declined 0.90% or 2.40 points to end at 264.00 and AP Moeller - Maersk A/S B (CO:MAERSKb) was down 0.53% or 60 points to 11340.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange by 74 to 36 and 25 ended unchanged.

Shares in Lundbeck A/S (CO:LUN) rose to 5-year highs; up 2.67% or 7.4 to 284.9.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 1.60% or 0.85 to $53.87 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 1.48% or 0.83 to hit $56.73 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.37% or 4.25 to trade at $1137.85 a troy ounce.

USD/DKK was down 0.04% to 7.1089, while EUR/DKK fell 0.00% to 7.4341.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.07% at 103.02.

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France stocks higher at close of trade; CAC 40 up 0.18%

– France stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Utilities, Healthcare and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 gained 0.18%, while the SBF 120 index gained 0.22%.

The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were Veolia Environnement VE SA (PA:VIE), which rose 0.82% or 0.130 points to trade at 16.075 at the close. Meanwhile, Danone SA (PA:DANO) added 0.75% or 0.44 points to end at 59.31 and Klepierre (PA:LOIM) was up 0.71% or 0.26 points to 36.99 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were BNP Paribas SA (PA:BNPP), which fell 0.80% or 0.49 points to trade at 60.68 at the close. Bouygues SA (PA:BOUY) declined 0.61% or 0.21 points to end at 34.32 and ArcelorMittal SA (AS:ISPA) was down 0.27% or 0.019 points to 7.067.

The top performers on the SBF 120 were SEB SA (PA:SEBF) which rose 1.98% to 129.00, Metropole TV (PA:MMTP) which was up 1.69% to settle at 17.71 and CGG SA (PA:GEPH) which gained 1.33% to close at 13.7500.

The worst performers were Ingenico Group (PA:INGC) which was down 2.13% to 76.63 in late trade, Air France KLM SA (PA:AIRF) which lost 0.92% to settle at 5.360 and Casino Guichard (PA:CASP) which was down 0.89% to 45.16 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 349 to 238 and 93 ended unchanged.

The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was up 9.81% to 16.27.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.37% or 4.25 to $1137.85 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 1.60% or 0.85 to hit $53.87 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 1.48% or 0.83 to trade at $56.73 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.03% to 1.0457, while EUR/GBP rose 0.15% to 0.8532.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.07% at 103.02.

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Italy stocks higher at close of trade; Investing.com Italy 40 up 0.25%

– Italy stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Chemicals, Telecoms and Utilities sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Milan, the Italy 40 gained 0.25% to hit a new 6-months high.

The best performers of the session on the Italy 40 were Mediaset (MI:MS), which rose 2.79% or 0.112 points to trade at 4.122 at the close. Meanwhile, Saipem (MI:SPMI) added 1.66% or 0.0085 points to end at 0.5215 and Telecom Italia (MI:TLIT) was up 1.46% or 0.0125 points to 0.8700 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl (MI:PMII), which fell 3.95% or 0.0158 points to trade at 0.3842 at the close. Banco Popolare Sc (MI:BAPO) declined 3.70% or 0.094 points to end at 2.446 and UBI Banca (MI:UBI) was down 0.57% or 0.0160 points to 2.7740.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Milan Stock Exchange by 215 to 107 and 21 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 1.58% or 0.84 to $53.86 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 1.47% or 0.82 to hit $56.72 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.37% or 4.15 to trade at $1137.75 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.03% to 1.0457, while EUR/GBP rose 0.16% to 0.8533.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.08% at 103.03.

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Belgium stocks higher at close of trade; BEL 20 up 0.19%

– Belgium stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Healthcare, Basic Materials and Consumer Goods sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Brussels, the BEL 20 added 0.19% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the BEL 20 were Galapagos NV (AS:GLPG), which rose 3.02% or 1.790 points to trade at 60.990 at the close. Meanwhile, Ontex Group (BR:ONTEX) added 1.83% or 0.51 points to end at 28.11 and Telenet Group (BR:TNET) was up 0.66% or 0.35 points to 53.05 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were ING Groep NV (AS:INGA), which fell 0.62% or 0.085 points to trade at 13.540 at the close. UCB (BR:UCB) declined 0.20% or 0.12 points to end at 60.88 and KBC (BR:KBC) was up 0.08% or 0.050 points to 59.580.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Brussels Stock Exchange by 85 to 29 and 9 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.36% or 4.05 to $1137.65 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 1.47% or 0.78 to hit $53.80 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 1.36% or 0.76 to trade at $56.66 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.03% to 1.0457, while EUR/GBP rose 0.14% to 0.8531.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.07% at 103.02.

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Germany stocks higher at close of trade; DAX up 0.19%

– Germany stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Media, Consumer&Cyclical and Technology sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Frankfurt, the DAX rose 0.19% to hit a new 52-week high, while the MDAX index added 0.24%, and the TecDAX index gained 1.21%.

The best performers of the session on the DAX were Prosiebensat 1 Media AG (DE:PSMGn), which rose 1.29% or 0.470 points to trade at 36.930 at the close. Meanwhile, Merck KGaA (DE:MRCG) added 0.89% or 0.880 points to end at 99.740 and RWE AG ST O.N. (DE:RWEG) was up 0.86% or 0.100 points to 11.680 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Deutsche Bank AG NA O.N. (DE:DBKGn), which fell 1.52% or 0.270 points to trade at 17.540 at the close. Commerzbank AG O.N. (DE:CBKG) declined 0.63% or 0.047 points to end at 7.450 and Thyssenkrupp AG O.N. (DE:TKAG) was down 0.53% or 0.120 points to 22.610.

The top performers on the MDAX were CTS Eventim AG (DE:EVDG) which rose 2.34% to 29.970, Bilfinger SE O.N. (DE:GBFG) which was up 1.96% to settle at 37.515 and RTL Group SA (DE:RRTL) which gained 1.43% to close at 70.050.

The worst performers were Stroeer SE (DE:SAXG) which was down 1.65% to 41.195 in late trade, Rational AG (BS:RAAd) which lost 0.96% to settle at 426.350 and Zalando SE (DE:ZALG) which was down 0.91% to 35.74 at the close.

The top performers on the TecDAX were Nordex SE O.N. (DE:NDXG) which rose 4.23% to 20.585, GFT Technologies AG (DE:GFTG) which was up 2.82% to settle at 19.845 and Evotec AG O.N. (DE:EVTG) which gained 2.14% to close at 7.221.

The worst performers were STRATEC Biomedical AG (DE:SBSG) which was down 0.40% to 45.220 in late trade, Jenoptik AG (DE:JENG) which unchanged 0.00% to settle at 16.355 and Alix Resources Corp (F:37N2) which was unchanged 0.00% to 0.032 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by 493 to 261 and 22 ended unchanged.

Shares in Evotec AG O.N. (DE:EVTG) rose to 5-year highs; rising 2.14% or 0.151 to 7.221.

The DAX volatility index, which measures the implied volatility of DAX options, was up 9.31% to 16.52.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.38% or 4.35 to $1137.95 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 1.41% or 0.75 to hit $53.77 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 1.29% or 0.72 to trade at $56.62 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.03% to 1.0457, while EUR/GBP rose 0.14% to 0.8531.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.08% at 103.03.

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Sweden stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Stockholm 30 up 0.49%

– Sweden stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Healthcare, Oil&Gas and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Stockholm, the OMX Stockholm 30 gained 0.49%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Stockholm 30 were Securitas AB ser. B (ST:SECUb), which rose 1.13% or 1.60 points to trade at 143.60 at the close. Meanwhile, Sandvik AB (ST:SAND) added 1.05% or 1.20 points to end at 115.30 and Nokia Oyj (ST:NOKIA) was up 1.01% or 0.45 points to 45.14 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Fingerprint Cards AB ser. B (ST:FINGb), which fell 1.51% or 1.00 points to trade at 65.20 at the close. SSAB AB ser. A (ST:SSABa) added 0.03% or 0.01 points to end at 35.49 and Nordea Bank AB (ST:NDA) was up 0.10% or 0.10 points to 102.60.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Stockholm Stock Exchange by 387 to 221 and 65 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 1.57% or 0.83 to $53.85 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 1.43% or 0.80 to hit $56.70 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.38% or 4.35 to trade at $1137.95 a troy ounce.

EUR/SEK was up 0.27% to 9.6522, while USD/SEK rose 0.27% to 9.2298.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.08% at 103.03.

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Morocco stocks lower at close of trade; Moroccan All Shares down 1.04%

– Morocco stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Utilities, Insurance and Holding Companies sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Casablanca, the Moroccan All Shares lost 1.04%.

The best performers of the session on the Moroccan All Shares were Med Paper (CS:PAP), which rose 9.95% or 2.16 points to trade at 23.86 at the close. Meanwhile, Dari Couspate SA (CS:DRI) added 5.92% or 155 points to end at 2775 and Fenie Brossette (CS:FBR) was up 4.32% or 3.97 points to 95.97 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Lydec (CS:LYD), which fell 9.98% or 60.00 points to trade at 541.00 at the close. AFMA SA (CS:AFM) declined 6.87% or 59 points to end at 800 and Taslif (CS:TSF1) was down 5.97% or 1.90 points to 29.90.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Casablanca Stock Exchange by 33 to 11 and 11 ended unchanged.

Shares in Med Paper (CS:PAP) rose to 52-week highs; up 9.95% or 2.16 to 23.86. Shares in Dari Couspate SA (CS:DRI) rose to all time highs; gaining 5.92% or 155 to 2775. Shares in Taslif (CS:TSF1) fell to 3-years lows; falling 5.97% or 1.90 to 29.90.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 1.58% or 0.84 to $53.86 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 1.43% or 0.80 to hit $56.70 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.37% or 4.25 to trade at $1137.85 a troy ounce.

EUR/MAD was down 0.22% to 10.6260, while USD/MAD fell 0.20% to 10.1610.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.08% at 103.03.

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Greece stocks higher at close of trade; Athens General-Composite up 1.17%

– Greece stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Banking, Food and Retail sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Athens, the Athens General-Composite rose 1.17%.

The best performers of the session on the Athens General-Composite were Select Textile (AT:EPIr), which rose 9.29% or 0.013 points to trade at 0.153 at the close. Meanwhile, Halcor (AT:XAKO) added 5.51% or 0.022 points to end at 0.421 and Iaso (AT:IASr) was up 4.87% or 0.019 points to 0.409 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Athens Medical (AT:AMCr), which fell 9.93% or 0.069 points to trade at 0.626 at the close. Quest Holdings (AT:IQTr) declined 5.67% or 0.380 points to end at 6.320 and Selonda Aquaculture SA (AT:SELr) was down 4.67% or 0.0070 points to 0.1430.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Athens Stock Exchange by 61 to 43 and 14 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.34% or 3.85 to $1137.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 1.26% or 0.67 to hit $53.69 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 1.16% or 0.65 to trade at $56.55 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.05% to 1.0459, while EUR/GBP rose 0.21% to 0.8537.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.08% at 103.03.

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Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 25 up 0.94%

– Israel stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Biomed, Technology and Communication sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 25 rose 0.94% to hit a new 6-months high.

The best performers of the session on the TA 25 were Perrigo (TA:PRGO), which rose 2.96% or 950 points to trade at 33080 at the close. Meanwhile, Mylan NV (TA:MYL) added 1.88% or 270 points to end at 14640 and First International Bank of Israel (TA:FTIN) was up 1.62% or 90 points to 5658 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Paz Oil (TA:PZOL), which fell 0.41% or 230 points to trade at 56250 at the close. Frutarom (TA:FRUT) declined 0.35% or 70 points to end at 20090 and Strauss Group (TA:STRS) was down 0.25% or 15 points to 5992.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 235 to 127 and 82 ended unchanged.

Shares in First International Bank of Israel (TA:FTIN) rose to 52-week highs; rising 1.62% or 90 to 5658.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 1.26% or 0.67 to $53.69 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 1.13% or 0.63 to hit $56.53 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.37% or 4.15 to trade at $1137.75 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was up 0.70% to 3.8481, while EUR/ILS rose 0.72% to 4.0246.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.09% at 103.04.

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Dollar crawls back towards 14-year high after consumer confidence data

- The U.S. dollar edged back towards the strongest level since December 2002 against a basket of other major currencies on Tuesday, after data showed U.S. consumer confidence in December improved to the highest level since August 2001.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index jumped to 113.7 this month from a reading of 109.4 in November. Analysts expected the index to fall to 109.0 in December.

The upbeat data boosted optimism over the health of the economy and supported the case for higher interest rates in the months ahead.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.1% at 103.05 by 10:25AM ET (15:25GMT), not far from last week's 14-year peak of 103.62.

Against the yen, the dollar was up 0.4% at 117.55, compared to a 10-1/2 month high of 118.65 set last week.

The yen showed little reaction to Japan's inflation data, which saw core consumer prices fall for the ninth straight month in November.

Meanwhile, the euro was little changed against the greenback at 1.0454, hovering above last week's 13-year low of 1.0352.

Investors contemplated the future of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena after the European Central Bank told the embattled Italian lender that it needs to plug an €8.8 billion ($9.2 billion) capital shortfall, higher than a previous €5 billion gap estimated by the bank.

Elsewhere, the British pound dipped 0.2% to 1.2256 against the dollar, within sight of a seven-week low of 1.2229 touched late last week, amid renewed uncertainty over the process by which Britain will leave the European Union.

Since the U.S. election in early November, the dollar has rallied by almost 6% thanks to bets of higher U.S. growth and a faster pace of interest rate increases under incoming president Donald Trump.

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the first time in a year earlier this month and projected three more increases in 2017. In contrast, central banks in Europe and Japan remain committed to very loose monetary policies

Higher rates boost the dollar by making the currency more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

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Oil within sight of 17-month highs amid optimism over supply cuts

- Oil prices were higher on Tuesday, rising towards the strongest level in a year-and-a-half amid optimism that major oil producers will stick to their agreement to cut production in the coming months.

Crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on 53 cents, or 1.0%, to $53.55 a barrel by 10:15AM ET (15:15GMT), within sight of a one-and-a-half-year peak of $54.51 logged on December 12.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London eased up 49 cents, or 0.9%, to $56.39 a barrel, not far from a 17-month high of $57.89 touched earlier this month.

The oil market was closed on Monday due to the Christmas holiday.

Trading activity was likely to stay subdued as many investors already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market.

OPEC members agreed to reduce output by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day starting from January 1, their first such deal since 2008.

The pact was followed by an agreement from 11 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut their supplies by 558,000 barrels a day, bringing the total to almost 1.8 million barrels per day.

However, some traders remain skeptical that the planned cuts will be as substantial as the market currently expects.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for February added 0.5 cents, or 0.3% to $1.644 a gallon, while February heating oil rallied 2.8 cents, or 1.7%, to $1.708 a gallon.

Natural gas futures for February delivery jumped 4.6 cents, or 1.25%, to $3.724 per million British thermal units, as a cold snap in the U.S. boosted demand.

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U.S. Dec. consumer confidence jumps to highest since August 2001

- U.S. consumer confidence in December improved to the highest level since August 2001, boosting optimism over the health of the economy and supporting the case for higher interest rates, industry data showed on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, a market research group, said its consumer confidence index jumped to 113.7 this month from a reading of 109.4 in November, whose figure was revised up from a previously reported 107.1. Analysts expected the index to fall to 109.0 in December.

The Expectations Index increased sharply from 94.4 to 105.5, but the Present Situation Index decreased from 132.0 last month to 126.1.

Commenting on the report, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center Lynn Franco said, “The post-election surge in optimism for the economy, jobs and income prospects, as well as for stock prices which reached a 13-year high, was most pronounced among older consumers."

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was December 15.

EUR/USD was trading at 1.0455 from around 1.0450 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.2263 from 1.2260 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 117.51 from 117.55 earlier.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 103.03, compared to 103.06 ahead of the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets were higher after the open. The Dow 30 rose 0.2%, the S&P 500 tacked on 0.35%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.8%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,139.20 a troy ounce, compared to $1,139.00 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $53.64 a barrel from $53.61 earlier.

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U.S. CB consumer confidence 113.7 vs. 109.0 forecast


In a report, research group the Conference Board said that its index of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 113.7, from 109.4 in the preceding month whose figure was revised up from 107.1.

Analysts had expected CB consumer confidence to rise to 109.0 last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/new_york_street_scene_M_1440050609.jpg

Oil firms ahead of planned output cuts

- Oil prices firmed in light trade on Tuesday as investors looked ahead to the implementation of planned output cuts by global producers, which is due to kick in on January 1.
Brent crude added 3 cents, or 0.05%, to $55.93 at 07:58 ET. U.S. crude gained 15 cents, or 0.28%, to $53.17.
OPEC members agreed to reduce output by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day starting from January 1, their first such deal since 2008. The pact was followed by an agreement from 11 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut their supplies by 558,000 barrels a day, bringing the total to almost 1.8 million barrels per day.
However, some traders remain skeptical that the planned cuts will be as substantial as the market currently expects.

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Gold rises sharply amid post-Christmas bargain buying

- Gold prices rose sharply on Tuesday, as some investors emerged out of the holiday lull to hunt for bargains as the market entered the last trading stretch of the year.

Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose by as much as 1.6% to a session peak of $1,151.70 a troy ounce, a level not seen since December 14.

It was last at $1,144.15 by 7:15AM ET (12:15GMT), up $10.55, or 0.93%. Prices of the yellow metal sank to an 11-month low of $1,124.30 earlier in December.

The precious metals market was closed on Monday due to the Christmas holiday.

Trading volumes are expected to remain light due to the holiday period as many traders already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing the volatility.

Gold futures are on a seven-week losing streak, the longest down stretch in more than 12 years.

Prices of the yellow metal have fallen sharply since Donald Trump was elected president as a soaring U.S. dollar, rising Treasury yields and a record-breaking rally on Wall Street have damped its appeal.

Market analysts warned that the outlook for gold remains cloudy in the near-term, given expectations for higher U.S. interest rates in the months ahead.

The Fed hiked interest rates for the first time in a year earlier this month and projected three more increases in 2017.

The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.

Both a strong dollar and higher interest rates are typically bearish for gold, which is denominated in dollars and struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when borrowing costs rise.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery jumped 26.8 cents, or 1.7%, to $16.02 a troy ounce during morning hours in New York, rebounding from last week's eight-month low of $15.67.

Meanwhile, platinum rallied 1.5% to $908.25 and palladium added 1.2% to $662.62 an ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures declined 0.5 cents, or 0.2%, to $2.474 a pound.

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U.S. stock futures flat in thin trade with confidence data ahead

- Wall Street futures pointed to a flat open on Tuesday in what was expected to be muted trade in the holiday season, though investors would focus on economic data later in the session.

The blue-chip Dow futures inched up 4 points, or 0.02%, by 6:48AM ET (11:48GMT), the S&P 500 futures advanced 1 points, or 0.06%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures edged forward 4 points, or 0.08%.

The Dow looked unlikely to hit the 20,000 psychological mark on Tuesday as some traders returned to the floor after the long Christmas weekend.

Still, trading was expected to be thin with many desks having closed their books for the final week of trading in 2016, reducing liquidity in the market.

With the holiday season in the backdrop, trading had been muted for most of Tuesday’s session.

Asian stocks closed the session mixed though Japan’s Nikkei 225 managed to eke out slight gains despite a slew of negative data including inflation, unemployment, household spending or housing starts.

Europe also saw muted holiday trade with London’s FTSE still closed for the holidays. The benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 and Germany’s DAX 30 managed slight gains.

Traders on the Old Continent kept an eye on Italian banks after the European Central Bank (ECB) told Banca Monte dei Paschi that it would need to plug an €8.8 billion ($9.2 billion) capital shortfall, putting pressure on the European financial sector and Italian lenders in particular.

The ECB’s announcement came after the Italian government authorized a €20 billion ($20.9 billion) bailout of the world’s oldest bank.

Stateside, investors looked ahead to gauge consumer sentiment with the U.S. Conference Board set to publish its December consumer confidence at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT) Tuesday.

Tuesday will also see the release of the S&P Case-Shiller HPI, due out at 9:00AM ET (14:00GMT). In addition, the Richmond Fed survey is to be released at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT), followed by the Dallas Fed survey at 10:30AM ET (15:30GMT).

Ahead of the data, the U.S. dollar edged slightly higher against the other major currencies after the long Christmas weekend on Tuesday, holding near the strongest level since December 2002 as the market entered the last trading stretch of the year.

Gold was seeing some buyers enter the precious metal with prices up nearly 1%, near a two week high, after logging its seventh consecutive weekly decline last week. Headlines before the Christmas break late Friday pointed to the fact that Germany had brought back more of its gold reserves than initially planned.

Meanwhile, oil prices firmed amid thinning pre-New Year holiday trade on Tuesday, less than a week before major global oil producers scale back production in line with the deal they struck last month.

U.S. crude futures gained 0.32% to $53.19 by 6:50AM ET (11:50GMT), while Brent oil edged forward 0.02% to $55.91.

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India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 1.58%

– India stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Metals and Consumer Durables sectors led shares higher.

At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 added 1.58%, while the BSE Sensex 30 index gained 1.57%.

The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Bosch Ltd (NS:BOSH), which rose 4.56% or 881.75 points to trade at 20200.00 at the close. Meanwhile, ITC Ltd (NS:ITC) added 4.22% or 9.50 points to end at 234.50 and TATA STEEL LIMITED (NS:TISC) was up 3.31% or 12.60 points to 392.70 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were GAIL Ltd (NS:GAIL), which fell 0.96% or 4.10 points to trade at 424.40 at the close. Grasim Industries Ltd (NS:GRAS) declined 0.56% or 4.55 points to end at 810.30 and IndusInd Bank Ltd. (NS:INBK) was down 0.08% or 0.80 points to 1059.70.

The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were ITC Ltd (BO:ITC) which rose 4.02% to 234.10, TATA STEEL LIMITED (BO:TISC) which was up 3.23% to settle at 392.75 and Adani Ports&Special Economic Zone (BO:APSE) which gained 2.87% to close at 266.80.

The worst performers were Gail (India) Ltd. (BO:GAIL) which was down 0.95% to 424.00 in late trade, NTPC Limited (BO:NTPC) which gained 0.06% to settle at 160.05 and Hero MotoCorp Limited (BO:HROM) which was up 0.22% to 3011.15 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 1080 to 390 and 61 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1678 rose and 840 declined, while 167 ended unchanged.

The India Vix, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was down 9.16% to 15.0825.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.97% or 11.05 to $1144.65 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.30% or 0.16 to hit $53.18 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to trade at $55.90 a barrel.

USD/INR was up 0.32% to 67.975, while EUR/INR rose 0.39% to 71.0797.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.06% at 103.01.

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Indonesia stocks higher at close of trade; IDX Composite Index up 1.50%

– Indonesia stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Miscellaneous Industry, Consumer Industry and Manufacturing sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Jakarta, the IDX Composite Index added 1.50%.

The best performers of the session on the IDX Composite Index were Benakat Integra Tbk (JK:BIPI), which rose 27.12% or 16 points to trade at 75 at the close. Meanwhile, Capitol Nusantara Indonesia (JK:CANI) added 22.55% or 265 points to end at 1440 and Buana Listya Tama Tbk PT (JK:BULL) was up 21.09% or 27 points to 155 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were First Media Tbk (JK:KBLV), which fell 10.00% or 185 points to trade at 1665 at the close. Nusantara Inti Corpora Tbk (JK:UNIT) declined 10.00% or 40.00 points to end at 360.00 and Lion Metal Works Tbk (JK:LION) was down 9.76% or 80.00 points to 740.00.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Jakarta Stock Exchange by 200 to 112 and 109 ended unchanged.

Shares in Buana Listya Tama Tbk PT (JK:BULL) rose to 52-week highs; rising 21.09% or 27 to 155. Shares in Lion Metal Works Tbk (JK:LION) fell to 3-years lows; falling 9.76% or 80.00 to 740.00.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.43% or 0.23 to $53.25 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.09% or 0.05 to hit $55.95 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.94% or 10.65 to trade at $1144.25 a troy ounce.

USD/IDR was down 0.03% to 13444.0, while AUD/IDR rose 0.04% to 9669.80.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.06% at 103.01.

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European stocks inches up in muted holiday trade; Dax tacks on 0.1%

- European stocks traded slightly higher on Tuesday in holiday-thinned trade, with London desks closed for a public holiday.

During European morning trade, the Euro Stoxx 50 edged forward 0.05%, France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.10%, while Germany’s DAX 30 inched up 0.10%.

In a muted session, those traders on the floor kept an eye on Italian banks after the European Central Bank (ECB) told Banca Monte dei Paschi that it would need to plug an €8.8 billion ($9.2 billion) capital shortfall.

The ECB’s announcement came after the Italian government authorized a €20 billion ($20.9 billion) bailout of the world’s oldest banks.

Monte de Paschi (MI:BMPS) shares had yet to reopen trade after being suspended on December 22 but other Italian banks such as Banco Popolare Sc (MI:BAPO) or Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl (MI:PMII) were under pressure with each trading around 2% lower.

Meanwhile, oil prices traded slightly higher amid thinning pre-New Year holiday trade on Tuesday, less than a week before major global oil producers scale back production in line with the deal they struck last month.

Energy stocks showed muted trade, as French oil and gas major Total SA (PA:TOTF) slipped 0.18%, Italy’s ENI (MI:ENI) was unchanged while Norwegian rival Statoil (OL:STL) inched up 0.06%.

Financial stocks also registered mixed performance, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) lost 0.77%, but Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) gained 0.18%, while Germany’s Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) edged forward 0.04%, but Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) fell 1.12%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) and Unicredit (MI:CRDI) traded down 0.24% and 0.71%, respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (MC:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MC:SAN) dropped 0.50% and 0.14%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a flat to lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 0.04%, S&P 500 futures dropped 0.07% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures gave up 0.13%.

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Oil firms in light trade as market waits for output cuts to kick in

- Oil prices firmed amid thinning pre-New Year holiday trade on Tuesday, less than a week before major global oil producers scale back production in line with the deal they struck last month.

Trading activity was likely to stay subdued as many investors already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market.

Crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on 19 cents, or 0.36%, to $53.21 a barrel by 4:40AM ET (09:40GMT).

Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London eased up 4 cents, or 0.07%, to $55.94 a barrel.

The oil market was closed on Monday due to the Christmas holiday.

OPEC members agreed to reduce output by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day starting from January 1, their first such deal since 2008.

The pact was followed by an agreement from 11 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut their supplies by 558,000 barrels a day, bringing the total to almost 1.8 million barrels per day.

However, some traders remain skeptical that the planned cuts will be as substantial as the market currently expects.

There are also some worries in the market about production increases in the U.S. and Libya.

According to oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. last week increased by 13 to 523, the eighth straight weekly rise and a level not seen in almost a year.

Meanwhile, Libya, which is allowed to ramp up production as part of the OPEC deal, announced the reopening of pipelines leading from two major fields last week. Libyan officials said the restarting of the oilfields and a connected pipeline could bring back around 270,000 barrels a day over the next three months.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for February shed 1.7 cents, or 1.1% to $1.622 a gallon, while February heating oil slipped 0.2 cents, or 0.1%, to $1.679 a gallon.

Natural gas futures for February delivery jumped 8.9 cents, or 2.4%, to $3.767 per million British thermal units, as a cold snap in the U.S. boosted demand.

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Philippines stocks higher at close of trade; PSEi Composite up 1.44%

– Philippines stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Industrials, Holding Firms and Property sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Philippines, the PSEi Composite gained 1.44%.

The best performers of the session on the PSEi Composite were Metro Pacific Investments Corp (PS:MPI), which rose 6.51% or 0.390 points to trade at 6.380 at the close. Meanwhile, Universal Robina Corp (PS:URC) added 4.67% or 7.000 points to end at 157.000 and Petron Corp (PS:PCOR) was up 4.38% or 0.420 points to 10.000 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Security Bank Corp (PS:SECB), which fell 2.75% or 5.50 points to trade at 194.50 at the close. First Gen Corp (PS:FGEN) declined 1.80% or 0.40 points to end at 21.80 and International Container Terminal Services Inc (PS:ICT) was down 1.79% or 1.250 points to 68.600.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Philippines Stock Exchange by 89 to 77 and 57 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 1.03% or 11.65 to $1145.25 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.57% or 0.30 to hit $53.32 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.25% or 0.14 to trade at $56.04 a barrel.

CNY/PHP was down 0.05% to 7.1643, while USD/PHP fell 0.02% to 49.777.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.07% at 103.02.

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Japan stocks higher at close of trade; Nikkei 225 up 0.03%

– Japan stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Rubber and Automobiles&Parts sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.03%.

The best performers of the session on the Nikkei 225 were The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. (T:5101), which rose 2.57% or 55.0 points to trade at 2195.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. (T:5801) added 2.53% or 85.0 points to end at 3440.0 and Advantest Corp. (T:6857) was up 1.62% or 31.0 points to 1942.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Toshiba Corp. (T:6502), which fell 11.73% or 52.0 points to trade at 391.4 at the close. IHI Corp. (T:7013) declined 2.55% or 8.0 points to end at 305.5 and Hokuetsu Kishu Paper Co., Ltd. (T:3865) was down 1.90% or 13.0 points to 672.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1632 to 1397 and 351 ended unchanged.

Shares in Advantest Corp. (T:6857) rose to 5-year highs; rising 1.62% or 31.0 to 1942.0.

The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was up 1.90% to 18.28.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.13% or 0.07 to $53.09 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.18% or 0.10 to hit $55.80 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.60% or 6.85 to trade at $1140.45 a troy ounce.

USD/JPY was up 0.19% to 117.31, while EUR/JPY rose 0.12% to 122.56.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.07% at 103.02.

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Israel condemns U.S. for secret role in scathing U.N. resolution

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the White House for its covert role in the drafting of an inflammatory U.N.'s resolution on the occupied territories last Friday, calling it a "deliberate push" by the U.S. to break the long-term relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv.

"As I told Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, friends don't take friends to the U.N. security council," said the Israeli prime minister, in remarks to the media, covered by .

Netanyahu said his government had proof that the Obama White House had helped draft the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N.

Even though the U.S. abstained from the U.N. vote, its behind the scenes conduct used duplicity to damage the decades-long collaboration between Israel and the U.S. It was a "deliberate push" by the U.S. against its ally, Netanyahu said.

John Bolton, the incoming Deputy Secretary of State, in a TV interview, said the Trump Administration can veto any future measures against Israel in the Security Council.

"But countless other U.N. bodies can proceed on their own," said Bolton. "I fear European sanctions based on Friday's resolution. I'm afraid there will be sanctions on companies that do business in the occupied territories. This resolution is going to wake up America. The two state solution is exposed for the failure it is. The U.N. had no place in this. The parties themselves have to reach agreement. This is an effort to harm Israel."

Bolton said he recommended slashing its contribution to the budget of the U.N. in response to the Security Council's vote last week. Presently, the U.S. pays 25% of the U.N. budget.

Trump is on a working vaction this week in Palm Beach, Fla., and commented that the surprising, new U.S. policy toward Israel will change when he takes office.

The president-elect is also this holiday week working on other matters, and is still looking to fill two cabinet posts, including the choice of the new secretary of the department of agriculture and the new leader of the department of veterans affairs.

Former Republican governors Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney have been listed as possible contenders for the veterans affairs department post, according to media reports.

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Japan’s unemployment rate 3.1% vs. 3.0% forecast


In a report, the Statistics Bureau said that the percentage of the total work force that is unemployed and actively seeking employment during the previous month rose to a seasonally adjusted 3.1%, from 3.0% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected the rate of unemployment to remain unchanged at 3.0% last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/unemployment_M_1440049657.jpg

Japan’s National Core CPI -0.4% vs. -0.3% forecast


In a report, Statistics Bureau said that Japan’s National Core CPI remained unchanged at a seasonally adjusted -0.4%, from -0.4% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected Japan’s National Core CPI to rise to -0.3% last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEA6L0EU_M.jpg © Reuters.

Lockheed Martin bends to Trump's price demands

- The CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE:LMT). late last week promised President-elect Donald Trump that the defense contractor would, as he requested, cut the cost of the controversial F-35 fighter jet.

Marillyn Hewson said she had a "very good conversation" with Trump Friday, after he took to Twitter and messaged that he was mulling replacing the costly F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with a modified version of a cheaper jet, being priced by rival Boeing (NYSE:BA) Co.

She gave her "personal commitment" to cut the cost of the combat jet with stealth capacity.

"I've heard his message loud and clear about reducing the cost of the F-35," Hewson said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by . "I gave him my personal commitment to drive the cost down aggressively. We're ready to deliver."

The price of Lockheed stock took a beating on Thursday and Friday of last week after the tussle with the incoming president, famed in his business days as a negotiator for low-cost, high quality solutions from his vendors for the Trump Organization's building projects, like the Grand Hyatt and the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

American stock markets are on holiday today in honor of Christmas.

The Dow closed up on Friday at 19933.81, an increase of 14.93 points, or 0.07%.

The Nasdaq closed at 5462.69.

The S&P 500 closed at 2263.79, up 2.83 points, or 0.13%.

Lockheed's stock closed at $249.59 per share Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, down 1.27%, or $3.21.

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Libya's oil comeback continues

- Libya's oil production comeback continues. The revival of the Libyan oil sector began earlier this year, after a disastrous four years of civil war and terrorist attacks following the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Analysts indicate General Khalifa Haftar’s emergence as a power in Libya has seen the petrostate remake its role in international oil politics by grabbing an exemption to the production freeze orchestrated by OPEC last month.

The latest forecasts place national production at 900,000 barrels per day in Libya during the next couple of months.

That's a more than 30% increase on the 600,000-barrel rate the country is currently pumping.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has been fighting off small-scale revolts.

The U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) governs the western half of Libya, from Tripoli.

Under the influence of the new administration, the faction of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) that oversees major pipelines fed by the Al-Feel field has lift a two-year blockade on the transmission of oil.

This could add more than 400,000 barrels per day to Libya’s oil production, and according to Khalid Shakshak, the head of the Libyan Oil Audit Bureau.

Reopening that particular pipeline would resolve 70% of Libya’s economic problems, he said in an interview with the trade press.

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Russia stocks higher at close of trade; MICEX up 0.22%

– Russia stocks were higher after the close on Monday, as gains in the Mining, Power and Oil&Gas sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Moscow, the MICEX gained 0.22%.

The best performers of the session on the MICEX were SG mechel (MCX:MTLR), which rose 6.60% or 11.70 points to trade at 189.10 at the close. Meanwhile, NLMK ao (MCX:NLMK) added 2.13% or 2.37 points to end at 113.85 and Severstal - ao (MCX:CHMF) was up 2.02% or 18.20 points to 919.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were DIXY Group ao (MCX:DIXY), which fell 2.24% or 6.30 points to trade at 274.80 at the close. Surgut-pref (MCX:SNGS_p) declined 1.44% or 0.450 points to end at 30.800 and Polymetal International PLC (MCX:POLY) was down 1.08% or 6.50 points to 598.00.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Moscow Stock Exchange by 114 to 106 and 17 ended unchanged.

The Russian VIX, which measures the implied volatility of MICEX options, was up 0.04% to 22.940.

Gold for February delivery was unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to $1135.00 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.53% or 0.28 to hit $53.23 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to trade at $55.90 a barrel.

USD/RUB was down 0.09% to 60.9994, while EUR/RUB fell 0.23% to 63.748.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.12% at 102.95.

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Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 25 up 0.03%

– Israel stocks were higher after the close on Monday, as gains in the Real Estate, Technology and Insurance sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 25 gained 0.03%.

The best performers of the session on the TA 25 were Strauss Group (TA:STRS), which rose 1.71% or 101 points to trade at 6007 at the close. Meanwhile, Ormat Technologies (TA:ORA) added 1.15% or 230 points to end at 20200 and Nice Ltd (TA:NICE) was up 1.09% or 280 points to 26020 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Delek Group (TA:DLEKG), which fell 0.94% or 770 points to trade at 80740 at the close. Discount (TA:DSCT) declined 0.77% or 6.1 points to end at 787.9 and Delek Drilling LP (TA:DEDRp) was down 0.70% or 10 points to 1418.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 208 to 141 and 95 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.53% or 0.28 to $53.23 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to hit $55.90 a barrel, while the February Gold contract unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to trade at $1135.00 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was down 0.11% to 3.8182, while EUR/ILS fell 0.12% to 3.9913.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.12% at 102.95.

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Bitcoin prices rise above $910, setting new high for 2016

- Web-based digital currency bitcoin hit its highest levels since January 2014 in post-Christmas trade on Monday, extending its recent rally.

Bitcoin (BTC/USD) was trading as high as $914.72 on the New York-based itBit exchange, before falling back to $906.72 by 9:20AM ET (14:20GMT), up around 1% on the day.

The digital currency is up almost 23% so far this month amid heavy buying from China and India, as investors look to shield themselves from currency devaluations and cash shortages.

U.S. and European buyers also accounted for the bulk of trading volume, as traders look for safe havens following dramatic political shifts in the world economy.

For the year, Bitcoin is up a whopping 87%, making it one of the best performing assets of 2016.

Analysts say prices of the digital currency look set to test all-time highs of $1,216 in 2017 amid rising demand for alternative assets.

Bitcoin is digital cash and is not backed by a government or central bank to regulate or issue it. It can be used to purchase goods and services from stores and online retailers.

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United Arab Emirates stocks higher at close of trade; DFM General up 0.75%

– United Arab Emirates stocks were higher after the close on Monday, as gains in the Consumer Staples, Real Estate&Construction and Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Dubai, the DFM General gained 0.75%, while the ADX General index gained 0.37%.

The best performers of the session on the DFM General were DXB Entertainments (P.J.S.C.) (DU:DXBE), which rose 3.88% or 0.050 points to trade at 1.340 at the close. Meanwhile, Deyaar Development PJSC (DU:DEYR) added 1.95% or 0.012 points to end at 0.628 and Takaful Emarat PSC (DU:TKFE) was up 1.93% or 0.050 points to 2.640 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Marka Pjse (DU:MARKA), which fell 2.60% or 0.04 points to trade at 1.50 at the close. SHUAA Capital PSC (DU:SHUA) declined 1.32% or 0.020 points to end at 1.490 and Gulf Navigation Holding PJSC (DU:GNAV) was down 1.25% or 0.020 points to 1.580.

The top performers on the ADX General were Rak Ceramics (AD:RKCE) which rose 3.48% to 2.380, Al Khazna Ins (AD:AKIC) which was up 2.86% to settle at 0.360 and Agthia Group (AD:AGTH) which gained 1.91% to close at 6.95.

The worst performers were Methaq (AD:METH) which was down 4.21% to 0.910 in late trade, Int Fish Farmi (AD:ASMK) which lost 1.58% to settle at 1.87 and Aldar Properti (AD:ALDR) which was down 0.38% to 2.640 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Dubai Stock Exchange by 25 to 9 and 4 ended unchanged; on the Abu Dhabi, 11 rose and 6 declined, while 6 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.53% or 0.28 to $53.23 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to hit $55.90 a barrel, while the February Gold contract unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to trade at $1135.00 a troy ounce.

USD/AED was unchanged 0.00% to 3.6726, while EUR/AED unchanged 0.00% to 3.8399.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.12% at 102.95.

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Dollar dips in in light post-Christmas trade

- The dollar edged slightly lower against a basket of currencies in quiet post-Christmas trade on Monday, as investors took profits ahead of the end of the year.

The euro was little changed against the greenback at 1.0451 by 09:00GMT, rebounding from last week's 13-year low of 1.0352.

Against the yen, the dollar was down 0.25% at 117.05, retreating from a 10-1/2 month high of 118.65 set last week.

The British pound was steady at around 1.2280 against the dollar, compared with a seven-week low of 1.2229 touched on Friday.

Activity on Monday will likely stay subdued with many major global markets closed after Christmas.

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Dollar edges lower in quiet post-Christmas trade

- The U.S. dollar edged slightly lower against the other major currencies on Monday, with activity likely to stay subdued as many global markets remained closed for the Christmas holiday.

U.S. and European stock markets are closed on Monday to make up for Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, resulting in muted trading volumes.

Against the yen, the dollar was down 0.25% at 117.05 by 4:10AM ET (09:10GMT), retreating from a 10-1/2 month high of 118.65 set last week.

Meanwhile, the euro was little changed against the greenback at 1.0450, rebounding from last week's 13-year low of 1.0352, as investors took profits ahead of the end of the year.

Elsewhere, the British pound was steady at around 1.2280 against the dollar, compared with a seven-week low of 1.2229 touched on Friday, amid renewed uncertainty over the process by which Britain will leave the European Union.

The greenback remained well-supported thanks to bets of higher U.S. growth and a faster pace of interest rate increases under incoming president Donald Trump.

Since the U.S. election in early November, the dollar index has rallied by almost 6%.

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the first time in a year earlier this month and projected three more increases in 2017. In contrast, central banks in Europe and Japan remain committed to very loose monetary policies

Higher rates boost the dollar by making the currency more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

In the week ahead, trading volumes are expected to remain light due to the Christmas holiday and as many traders already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing the volatility.

The U.S. is to release reports on consumer confidence, pending home sales and jobless claims, as traders look for further indications on the strength of the economy and hints on the future path of monetary policy.

Elsewhere, Japanese inflation data will also be in focus as investors assess the need for further stimulus in the world's third's largest economy.

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Kissinger, Rice, Gates advising Trump on national security policy

- - Former secretaries of state and defense of the U.S., Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates, have been informally advising President-elect Donald J. Trump on foreign policy and national security strategy, with the goal of reframing American policy toward Russia, has learned.

Trump had articulated the idea of reaching out to Russia during the presidential campaign, and met much criticism for the concept from the establishment in Washington D.C. and the opposition media in the U.S.

This was followed by hyperbolic reportage regarding Trump’s appointment of Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), as the next secretary of state, due to his business ties to Russia, and friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But Kissinger has stated that it would be good for the international order if U.S.-Russian relations were better. "The long-term interests of both countries call for a world that transforms the contemporary turbulence and flux into a new equilibrium which is increasingly multi-polar and globalized," said Kissinger, who was secretary of state for President Nixon and President Ford, in a speech earlier this year.

"Russia should be perceived as an essential element of any new global equilibrium, not primarily as a threat to the United States.”

Kissinger’s consulting firm has advised Exxon in the past, as well as advised American Express (NYSE:AXP), Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).

Trump’s transition team did not comment on the president-elect’s dealings with Kissinger, with whom he has met personally, at least one time, nor did it speak to his relationship with Rice or Gates.

Some reports indicate that the controversy over Trump’s recent remarks on U.S. nuclear capacity may be unfounded, according to press reports.

President Obama has pushed for the same kind of technology upgrade to the nuclear arsenal, but this was not understood at the time Trump made his remarks by reporters.

“For the next president to say ‘we’re going to have to systematically rebuild our nuclear capability’ is exactly right,” said Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in a TV interview on Sunday.

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Japan’s CSPI 0.3% vs. 0.5% forecast


In a report, Bank Of Japan said that Japan’s CSPI fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.3%, from 0.5% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected Japan’s CSPI to remain unchanged at 0.5% last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEA8A12U_M.jpg © Reuters.

United Arab Emirates stocks higher at close of trade; DFM General up 0.23%

– United Arab Emirates stocks were higher after the close on Sunday, as gains in the Finance&Investment, Transport and Real Estate&Construction sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Dubai, the DFM General gained 0.23%, while the ADX General index added 0.05%.

The best performers of the session on the DFM General were Union Properties PJSC (DU:UPRO), which rose 3.60% or 0.040 points to trade at 1.150 at the close. Meanwhile, Dubai National Insurance (DU:DNIN) added 2.04% or 0.050 points to end at 2.500 and Amlak Finance PJSC (DU:AMLK) was up 1.60% or 0.020 points to 1.270 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Emirates Refreshments Company (DU:ERC), which fell 10.00% or 0.490 points to trade at 4.410 at the close. Marka Pjse (DU:MARKA) declined 3.14% or 0.05 points to end at 1.54 and Gulf General Investments Company (DU:GGIC) was down 0.99% or 0.005 points to 0.500.

The top performers on the ADX General were Int Fish Farmi (AD:ASMK) which rose 2.70% to 1.90, Bank Of Sharja (AD:BOS) which was up 2.22% to settle at 1.380 and Dana Gas (AD:DANA) which gained 1.85% to close at 0.550.

The worst performers were Abu Dhabi National Hotels Co (AD:ADNH) which was down 7.94% to 2.90 in late trade, Al Khazna Ins (AD:AKIC) which lost 5.41% to settle at 0.350 and Ad Commercial (AD:ADCB) which was down 0.88% to 6.74 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Dubai Stock Exchange by 20 to 13 and 7 ended unchanged; on the Abu Dhabi, 13 rose and 6 declined, while 9 ended unchanged.

Shares in Emirates Refreshments Company (DU:ERC) fell to 5-year lows; falling 10.00% or 0.490 to 4.410.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.53% or 0.28 to $53.23 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to hit $55.90 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.34% or 3.80 to trade at $1134.50 a troy ounce.

USD/AED was up 0.00% to 3.6726, while EUR/AED rose 0.16% to 3.8399.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.12% at 102.95.

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New home sales 592K vs. 575K forecast


In a report, the Census Bureau said that new home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592K, from 563K in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected new home sales to rise to 575K last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEA7K0PM_M.jpg © Reuters.

Weekly outlook: December 26 - 30

- The U.S. dollar edged slightly lower against a basket of currencies in pre-holiday trade on Friday, slipping from its 14-year-high as investors took profits in the run-up to the Christmas weekend.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, dipped 0.1% to 103.00 by late Friday. The index climbed to 103.62 on Tuesday, the strongest level since December 2002.

For the week, the index gained less than 0.1% in thinning trading ahead of the year-end holiday period.

The greenback remained well-supported thanks to bets of higher U.S. growth and a faster pace of interest rate increases under incoming president Donald Trump.

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the first time in a year earlier this month and projected three more increases in 2017.

Higher rates boost the dollar by making the currency more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

Against the yen, the dollar fell to 117.34 on Friday, retreating from a 10-1/2 month high of 118.65 set last week. The pair lost 0.5% on the week, snapping a six-week win streak.

Meanwhile, the euro tacked on 0.2% to end at 1.0456 by late Friday, rebounding from 1.0352 on Tuesday, the lowest since January 2003.

Elsewhere, the British pound fell to a seven-week low of 1.2229, pressured by renewed uncertainty over the process by which Britain will leave the European Union.

In the week ahead, trading volumes are expected to remain light due to the Christmas holiday and as many traders already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing the volatility.

The U.S. is to release reports on consumer confidence, pending home sales and jobless claims, as traders look for further indications on the strength of the economy and hints on the future path of monetary policy.

Elsewhere, Japanese inflation data will also be in focus as investors assess the need for further stimulus in the world's third's largest economy.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, December 26

The Bank of Japan will publish minutes of its most recent policy meeting.

Stock markets in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the U.K., Switzerland, Canada and the U.S. will remain closed, to make up for Christmas Day falling on a Sunday.

All floor trading for precious and base metals options will be shut for the Christmas holiday.

Tuesday, December 27

Japan is to release data on inflation, employment and household spending.

Markets in the U.K. and Canada will remain closed for Boxing Day.

The U.S. is to release private sector data on consumer confidence.

Wednesday, December 28

Japan is to produce data on industrial production and retail sales.

The U.K. is to publish industry data on mortgage approvals.

The U.S. is to release data on pending home sales.

Thursday, December 29

The U.K. is to release industry data on house prices.

The euro zone is to publish a report on money supply growth and private loans.

The U.S. is to produce data on weekly jobless claims, wholesale inventories and the trade deficit.

Friday, December 30

In the euro zone, Spain will release monthly inflation figures.

The U.S. is to round up the week with data on manufacturing activity in the Chicago-region.

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Gold / Silver / Copper futures - weekly outlook: December 26 - 30

- Gold prices edged slightly higher in abbreviated trade ahead of the holiday weekend on Friday, but the precious metal still posted its seventh straight weekly decline as expectations for higher U.S. interest rates in the months ahead weighed.

Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on $2.90, or 0.26%, to end the week at $1,133.60 a troy ounce, not far from an 11-month low of $1,124.30 touched on December 15.

For the week, gold futures slumped $3.80, or 0.33%, the seventh straight week of declines, its longest weekly losing streak in more than 12 years.

Prices of the yellow metal have fallen sharply since Donald Trump was elected president as a soaring U.S. dollar, rising Treasury yields and a record-breaking rally on Wall Street have damped its appeal.

The greenback lost some steam on Friday, slipping from its 14-year-high against a basket of currencies as investors took profits ahead of the end of the year.

The dollar index dipped 0.1% to settle at 103.00 by close of trade Friday. The index climbed to 103.62 on Tuesday, the strongest level since December 2002.

Market analysts warned that the outlook for gold remains cloudy in the near-term, given expectations for higher U.S. interest rates in the months ahead.

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the first time in a year earlier this month and projected three more increases in 2017.

The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.

Both a strong dollar and higher interest rates are typically bearish for gold, which is denominated in dollars and struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when borrowing costs rise.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery shed 11.2 cents, or 0.7%, on Friday to settle at $15.75 a troy ounce, within sight of an eight-month low of $15.67 logged on Tuesday. On the week, silver lost 29.6 cents, or 2.8%.

Meanwhile, platinum dropped 1.55%, to $893.20, marking a weekly decline of 3.7%, while palladium slumped 0.3% to $654.85 an ounce, notching a weekly loss of 6.1%.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for March delivery dipped 2.0 cents, or 0.82%, on Friday to end at $2.479 a pound, booking a weekly slide of around 3.5%.

In the week ahead, trading volumes are expected to remain light due to the Christmas holiday and as many traders already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing the volatility.

The U.S. is to release reports on consumer confidence, pending home sales and jobless claims, as traders look for further indications on the strength of the economy and hints on the future path of monetary policy.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, December 26

Stock markets in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the U.K., Switzerland, Canada and the U.S. will remain closed, to make up for Christmas Day falling on a Sunday.

All floor trading for precious and base metals options will be shut for the Christmas holiday.

Tuesday, December 27

Markets in the U.K. and Canada will remain closed for Boxing Day.

The U.S. is to release private sector data on consumer confidence.

Wednesday, December 28

The U.S. is to release data on pending home sales.

Thursday, December 29

The U.S. is to produce data on weekly jobless claims, wholesale inventories and the trade deficit.

Friday, December 30

The U.S. is to round up the week with data on manufacturing activity in the Chicago-region.

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U.S. stocks higher at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.07%

– U.S. stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Healthcare, Consumer Goods and Financials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.07%, while the S&P 500 index gained 0.13%, and the NASDAQ Composite index gained 0.28%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), which rose 0.90% or 1.45 points to trade at 163.03 at the close. Meanwhile, Procter&Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) added 0.58% or 0.49 points to end at 84.96 and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was up 0.52% or 0.39 points to 74.97 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which fell 0.49% or 0.31 points to trade at 63.24 at the close. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) declined 0.47% or 0.58 points to end at 123.14 and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) was down 0.44% or 0.23 points to 51.91.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Williams Companies Inc (NYSE:WMB) which rose 4.16% to 31.56, Dun&Bradstreet Corporation (NYSE:DNB) which was up 3.68% to settle at 123.27 and Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) which gained 3.35% to close at 71.01.

The worst performers were Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ:CTAS) which was down 3.11% to 116.36 in late trade, Bed Bath&Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:BBBY) which lost 1.47% to settle at 40.77 and Arconic Inc (NYSE:ARNC) which was down 1.44% to 19.78 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Inventergy (NASDAQ:INVT) which rose 39.61% to 0.670, Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PTLA) which was up 33.80% to settle at 25.06 and Moleculin Biotech Inc (NASDAQ:MBRX) which gained 29.80% to close at 1.96.

The worst performers were Memorial Production Partners LP (NASDAQ:MEMP) which was down 55.77% to 0.180 in late trade, Strongbridge Biopharma plc (NASDAQ:SBBP) which lost 30.56% to settle at 2.5000 and Metabolix Inc (NASDAQ:MBLX) which was down 13.95% to 0.370 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1885 to 1318 and 63 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1703 rose and 790 declined, while 137 ended unchanged.

Shares in Memorial Production Partners LP (NASDAQ:MEMP) fell to all time lows; down 55.77% or 0.227 to 0.180. Shares in Strongbridge Biopharma plc (NASDAQ:SBBP) fell to all time lows; losing 30.56% or 1.1000 to 2.5000.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 0.09% to 11.44.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.22% or 2.45 to $1133.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.26% or 0.14 to hit $53.09 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.05% or 0.03 to trade at $55.08 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.15% to 1.0452, while USD/JPY fell 0.15% to 117.37.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.08% at 102.99.

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Brazil stocks higher at close of trade; Bovespa up 1.19%

– Brazil stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Financials, Real Estate and Consumption sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Sao Paulo, the Bovespa gained 1.19%.

The best performers of the session on the Bovespa were Estacio Participacoes SA (SA:ESTC3), which rose 4.19% or 0.62 points to trade at 15.42 at the close. Meanwhile, Cia Siderurgica Nacional SA (SA:CSNA3) added 3.65% or 0.35 points to end at 9.95 and Hypermarcas SA (SA:HYPE3) was up 3.22% or 0.78 points to 24.99 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Cia Paranaense de Energia (SA:CPLE6), which fell 1.61% or 0.43 points to trade at 26.36 at the close. Suzano Papel e Celulose SA (SA:SUZB5) declined 1.49% or 0.20 points to end at 13.18 and Equatorial Energia SA (SA:EQTL3) was down 0.94% or 0.50 points to 52.60.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange by 184 to 127 and 47 ended unchanged.

The CBOE Brazil Etf Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Bovespa options, was down 2.57% to 34.17 a new 1-month low.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.22% or 2.45 to $1133.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.15% or 0.08 to hit $53.03 a barrel, while the March US coffee C contract fell 1.94% or 2.70 to trade at $136.20 .

USD/BRL was down 0.50% to 3.2709, while EUR/BRL fell 0.40% to 3.4180.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.05% at 103.02.

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Light trading for the dollar, forex on Friday

- Trading of the dollar was light on Friday, as forex investors reduced activity in anticipation of the Christmas holiday.

The dollar has gained more than 5 percent against a basket of currencies ever since Donald J. Trump's unexpected U.S. presidential election win on Nov. 8.

The euro was up against the dollar at about 2:30 p.m. Eastern today, by 0.11%, at 1.0444.

The dollar was up against the yet at the same time, by 0.23%, at 117.24.

The dollar was also up against the pound, by 0.8%, at 1.2271

The greenback will likely reach new multi-year heights when investors return from the holiday break, according to leading market analysts.

Traders are seen as being very risk-averse now, fearing the loss of forex gains before the end of the year, news reports indicated.

Anticipation that President-elect Trump's policies will reignite a stagnant U.S. economy has been behind the surge in the dollar, as well as the major market indexes, the Dow, The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 during the last two months, as per the financial media consensus view.

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Crude settles at $53.05 on Friday

- Crude oil settled at $53.05 during light trading on Friday, up slightly. The price of Brent oil was down by 8 cents at around 1 p.m. Central, but settled at $55.15, up slightly.

The market was not very active today, as the Christmas holiday weekend sent many home early from work.

Traders continue to worry that OPEC will not be able to keep producers in line and force a production cut next year.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in war-torn Iraq appears poised to ignore the OPEC agreement last month to slash oil production and is planning to increase output in the coming weeks, according to industry sources.

Since the U.S. pullout of most troops from Iraq, Baghdad has no control over the regional Kurdistan government. The government is not sovereign, and is not recognized by the international community as such, and so it was not given a seat at the Nov. 30 meeting of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries in Vienna, and so could not make its objections known widely at the time of the production cutting accord.

Keeping oil production high, or even increasing it, is high on the agenda of Kurdish leaders in Iraq.

Reducing output would force the cash-strapped regional authority to further delay paying its Peshmerga soldiers, who have been ISIS’ most formidable regional foes on the battlefield.

Per the OPEC deal, Iraq agreed to reduce crude output by 210,000 barrels a day from October levels.

But Kurdistan controls about 600,000 barrels a day of oil production, nearly 12% of Iraq’s oil output.

Due to the schism between the KRG and Baghdad, Iraq’s central government has absolutely no power to order the KRG to reduce production.

Companies, like the Kar Group, operating in Kurdistan indicate that they are planning to boost oil production early next year by 40,000 barrels a day.

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Relaxation of restrictions in Singapore, India boost gold price

Investing - The price of gold increased in intraday trading today to $1,130.90 per troy ounce, up $3.20, or 0.28%.

News from around the globe may be giving the precious metal, whose price has been tarnished lately, a significant boost.

Reports emerged this week that the government of India are poised to cut taxes on gold.

The government there is seeking to drop gold import taxes to 6%, a major reduction from the present 10% import tax.

The lower taxes are part of a policy to curb gold smuggling, experts said, noting the black market for gold there has grown since taxes were increased earlier this year.

Analysts reckon the price of gold may be bolstered if this policy is implemented.

Singapore's Sharia-Compliant Gold Futures

Other gold policy news is influencing the market price today.

This week, the Singapore Exchange launched its first sharia-compliant gold futures contract, develooped to meet all requirements for Islamic finance. This will allow buyers in the Muslim world to ethically wade into the market.

Earlier, Bahrain’s Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions released new guidelines on gold and silver purchases for Islamic investors.

In another development, Nigerian mines minister Kayode Fayemi said the federal government has obtained $150 million from the World Bank to support a national mining investment fund.

Developers of gold, zinc and other metals across Nigeria now have a major source of project funding.

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Portugal stocks higher at close of trade; PSI 20 up 0.50%

– Portugal stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Industrials, Basic Materials and Consumer Goods sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Lisbon, the PSI 20 gained 0.50%.

The best performers of the session on the PSI 20 were Altri SGPS (LS:ALSS), which rose 2.09% or 0.0780 points to trade at 3.8130 at the close. Meanwhile, Semapa (LS:SEM) added 1.92% or 0.2500 points to end at 13.2500 and Galp Energia Nom (LS:GALP) was up 1.25% or 0.1750 points to 14.1950 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Sonae (LS:YSO), which fell 0.69% or 0.0060 points to trade at 0.8680 at the close. J. Martins SGPS (LS:JMT) declined 0.59% or 0.0850 points to end at 14.3950 and REN (LS:RENE) was down 0.19% or 0.0050 points to 2.6640.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Lisbon Stock Exchange by 21 to 10 and 7 ended unchanged.

Shares in Semapa (LS:SEM) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 1.92% or 0.2500 to 13.2500.

Brent oil for February delivery was down 0.07% or 0.04 to $55.01 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.17% or 0.09 to hit $52.86 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.30% or 3.35 to trade at $1134.05 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.14% to 1.0451, while EUR/GBP rose 0.33% to 0.8525.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.08% at 102.99.

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Spain stocks higher at close of trade; IBEX 35 up 0.37%

– Spain stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Telecoms&IT, Chemical, Petroleum&Plastic and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Madrid, the IBEX 35 rose 0.37%.

The best performers of the session on the IBEX 35 were Telefonica (MC:TEF), which rose 1.43% or 0.125 points to trade at 8.847 at the close. Meanwhile, Grifols SA (MC:GRLS) added 1.33% or 0.245 points to end at 18.680 and Merlin Properties SA (MC:MRL) was up 1.13% or 0.12 points to 10.29 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Banco Popular (MC:POP), which fell 3.29% or 0.031 points to trade at 0.911 at the close. Arcel. Mittal (MC:MTS) declined 1.15% or 0.082 points to end at 7.075 and ACS Const. (MC:ACS) was down 0.99% or 0.300 points to 30.000.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Madrid Stock Exchange by 95 to 69 and 18 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.27% or 3.05 to $1133.75 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.23% or 0.12 to hit $52.83 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract fell 0.15% or 0.08 to trade at $54.97 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.13% to 1.0450, while EUR/GBP rose 0.35% to 0.8527.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.07% at 103.00.

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Netherlands stocks higher at close of trade; AEX up 0.08%

– Netherlands stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Technology, Financials and Industrials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Amsterdam, the AEX added 0.08%.

The best performers of the session on the AEX were NN Group (AS:NN), which rose 3.74% or 1.18 points to trade at 32.74 at the close. Meanwhile, Gemalto (AS:GTO) added 0.86% or 0.47 points to end at 55.04 and Boskalis Westmin (AS:BOSN) was up 0.80% or 0.26 points to 32.91 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were ArcelorMittal SA (AS:ISPA), which fell 0.67% or 0.048 points to trade at 7.086 at the close. Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV (AS:AD) declined 0.33% or 0.07 points to end at 19.65 and Royal Dutch Shell A (AS:RDSa) was down 0.31% or 0.080 points to 25.920.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by 68 to 52 and 13 ended unchanged.

The AEX Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of AEX options, was up 0.72% to 13.80.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.28% or 0.15 to $52.80 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February fell 0.16% or 0.09 to hit $54.96 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.27% or 3.05 to trade at $1133.75 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.12% to 1.0449, while EUR/GBP rose 0.35% to 0.8527.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.06% at 103.01.

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U.K. stocks higher at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 up 0.06%

– U.K. stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Gas, Water&Multiutilities, Real Estate Investment Trusts REITs and Real Estate sectors led shares higher.

At the close in London, the United Kingdom 100 rose 0.06% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the United Kingdom 100 were Capita PLC (LON:CPI), which rose 3.69% or 18.50 points to trade at 520.50 at the close. Meanwhile, Land Securities Group PLC (LON:LAND) added 2.00% or 21.00 points to end at 1070.00 and National Grid PLC (LON:NG) was up 1.91% or 17.80 points to 951.30 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV), which fell 1.41% or 6.700 points to trade at 469.300 at the close. HSBC Holdings PLC (LON:HSBA) declined 1.33% or 8.700 points to end at 646.500 and Fresnillo PLC (LON:FRES) was down 1.07% or 12.00 points to 1112.00.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the London Stock Exchange by 816 to 649 and 536 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.30% or 3.35 to $1134.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.04% or 0.02 to hit $52.97 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.20% or 0.11 to trade at $55.16 a barrel.

GBP/USD was down 0.24% to 1.2254, while EUR/GBP rose 0.34% to 0.8526.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.04% at 103.03.

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Germany stocks mixed at close of trade; DAX down 0.05%

– Germany stocks were mixed after the close on Friday, as gains in the Construction, Financial Services and Basic Resources sectors led shares higher while losses in the Food&Beverages, Software and Retail sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Frankfurt, the DAX lost 0.05%, while the MDAX index gained 0.18%, and the TecDAX index climbed 0.53%.

The best performers of the session on the DAX were Lufthansa AG VNA O.N. (DE:LHAG), which rose 1.50% or 0.190 points to trade at 12.880 at the close. Meanwhile, Heidelbergcement AG O.N. (DE:HEIG) added 0.77% or 0.670 points to end at 87.400 and Vonovia SE (DE:VNAn) was up 0.76% or 0.23 points to 30.59 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Commerzbank AG O.N. (DE:CBKG), which fell 1.24% or 0.094 points to trade at 7.497 at the close. Volkswagen AG VZO O.N. (DE:VOWG_p) declined 0.94% or 1.300 points to end at 137.500 and Thyssenkrupp AG O.N. (DE:TKAG) was down 0.59% or 0.135 points to 22.730.

The top performers on the MDAX were Stroeer SE (DE:SAXG) which rose 2.03% to 41.885, K+S AG NA O.N. (DE:SDFGn) which was up 1.82% to settle at 22.350 and Krones AG O.N. (DE:KRNG) which gained 1.15% to close at 88.200.

The worst performers were CTS Eventim AG (DE:EVDG) which was down 1.65% to 29.285 in late trade, Suedzucker AG (DE:SZUG) which lost 1.26% to settle at 22.685 and Zalando SE (DE:ZALG) which was down 0.66% to 36.07 at the close.

The top performers on the TecDAX were Alix Resources Corp (F:37N2) which rose 10.34% to 0.032, Nemetschek AG O.N. (DE:NEKG) which was up 4.11% to settle at 52.990 and Evotec AG O.N. (DE:EVTG) which gained 1.43% to close at 7.070.

The worst performers were CompuGroup Medical AG O.N. (DE:COPMa) which was down 0.55% to 37.965 in late trade, Siltronic AG (DE:WAFGn) which lost 0.44% to settle at 43.715 and Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology O.N. (DE:PV) which was down 0.41% to 84.650 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by 385 to 348 and 32 ended unchanged.

Shares in Evotec AG O.N. (DE:EVTG) rose to 5-year highs; rising 1.43% or 0.100 to 7.070.

The DAX volatility index, which measures the implied volatility of DAX options, was up 1.45% to 15.11.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.31% or 3.45 to $1134.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.04% or 0.02 to hit $52.97 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.20% or 0.11 to trade at $55.16 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.11% to 1.0447, while EUR/GBP rose 0.34% to 0.8526.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.05% at 103.02.

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Norway stocks higher at close of trade; Oslo OBX up 0.31%

– Norway stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Healthcare Equipment&Services, Food, Beverages&Tobacco and Telecoms sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Oslo, the Oslo OBX rose 0.31%.

The best performers of the session on the Oslo OBX were REC Silicon ASA (OL:REC), which rose 2.87% or 0.03 points to trade at 1.22 at the close. Meanwhile, Lerøy Seafood Group ASA (OL:LSG) added 2.25% or 10.5 points to end at 476.2 and Marine Harvest ASA (OL:MHG) was up 2.09% or 3.20 points to 156.60 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Seadrill Limited (OL:SDRL), which fell 2.08% or 0.6 points to trade at 29.7 at the close. Petroleum Geo - Services ASA (OL:PGS) declined 1.95% or 0.56 points to end at 28.17 and Frontline Ltd (OL:FRO) was down 1.90% or 1.20 points to 61.80.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Oslo Stock Exchange by 102 to 73 and 25 ended unchanged.

Shares in Lerøy Seafood Group ASA (OL:LSG) rose to all time highs; gaining 2.25% or 10.5 to 476.2. Shares in Marine Harvest ASA (OL:MHG) rose to all time highs; rising 2.09% or 3.20 to 156.60.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.15% or 0.08 to $53.03 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.33% or 0.18 to hit $55.23 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.34% or 3.85 to trade at $1134.55 a troy ounce.

EUR/NOK was up 0.06% to 9.0977, while USD/NOK fell 0.09% to 8.7051.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.07% at 103.00.

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Russia stocks lower at close of trade; MICEX down 0.07%

– Russia stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Telecoms, Mining and Oil&Gas sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Moscow, the MICEX lost 0.07%.

The best performers of the session on the MICEX were DIXY Group ao (MCX:DIXY), which rose 2.44% or 6.70 points to trade at 281.10 at the close. Meanwhile, MosEnrg (MCX:MSNG) added 2.32% or 0.0540 points to end at 2.3770 and AK Transneft OAO Pref (MCX:TRNF_p) was up 2.27% or 4350 points to 195750 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were ANK Bashneft OAO Pref (MCX:BANE_p), which fell 2.37% or 30.5 points to trade at 1258.5 at the close. Rosneft (MCX:ROSN) declined 2.23% or 8.75 points to end at 382.85 and Rosseti ao (MCX:RSTI) was down 1.61% or 0.0182 points to 1.1098.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Moscow Stock Exchange by 122 to 91 and 20 ended unchanged.

Shares in ANK Bashneft OAO Pref (MCX:BANE_p) fell to 52-week lows; down 2.37% or 30.5 to 1258.5.

The Russian VIX, which measures the implied volatility of MICEX options, was down 5.67% to 21.790.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.34% or 3.85 to $1134.55 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.15% or 0.08 to hit $53.03 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.33% or 0.18 to trade at $55.23 a barrel.

USD/RUB was up 0.17% to 61.0488, while EUR/RUB rose 0.27% to 63.817.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.07% at 103.00.

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Greece stocks lower at close of trade; Athens General-Composite down 0.08%

– Greece stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Basic Resources, Travel and Telecoms sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Athens, the Athens General-Composite fell 0.08%.

The best performers of the session on the Athens General-Composite were Athens Medical (AT:AMCr), which rose 8.59% or 0.055 points to trade at 0.695 at the close. Meanwhile, Selonda Aquaculture SA (AT:SELr) added 7.14% or 0.0100 points to end at 0.1540 and Thrace Plastic (AT:THRr) was up 6.73% or 0.150 points to 2.380 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Centric Hold (AT:DESr), which fell 20.97% or 0.026 points to trade at 0.097 at the close. Revoil Petrol (AT:REVr) declined 10.73% or 0.038 points to end at 0.316 and Select Textile (AT:EPIr) was down 9.68% or 0.015 points to 0.140.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Athens Stock Exchange by 57 to 47 and 7 ended unchanged.

Shares in Thrace Plastic (AT:THRr) rose to 5-year highs; up 6.73% or 0.150 to 2.380.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.36% or 4.05 to $1134.75 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.17% or 0.09 to hit $52.86 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract fell 0.05% or 0.03 to trade at $55.02 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.16% to 1.0453, while EUR/GBP rose 0.47% to 0.8537.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.09% at 102.98.

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Turkey stocks lower at close of trade; BIST 100 down 0.56%

– Turkey stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Food&Beverages, Basic Metals and Information Technology sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Istanbul, the BIST 100 declined 0.56%.

The best performers of the session on the BIST 100 were Yazicilar Holding (IS:YAZIC), which rose 6.76% or 0.89 points to trade at 14.06 at the close. Meanwhile, Tesco Kipa (IS:KIPA) added 4.00% or 0.060 points to end at 1.560 and Ege Endustri (IS:EGEEN) was up 3.92% or 8.40 points to 222.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Ipek Dogal Enerji (IS:IPEKE), which fell 5.56% or 0.120 points to trade at 2.040 at the close. Koza Madencilik (IS:KOZAA) declined 4.98% or 0.110 points to end at 2.100 and Karsan Otomotiv (IS:KARSN) was down 4.63% or 0.050 points to 1.030.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Istanbul Stock Exchange by 216 to 115 and 77 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.46% or 5.15 to $1135.85 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.13% or 0.07 to hit $52.88 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract fell 0.04% or 0.02 to trade at $55.03 a barrel.

USD/TRY was up 0.05% to 3.5130, while EUR/TRY rose 0.19% to 3.6745.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.12% at 102.95.

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Dollar index holds steady after positive U.S. data

- The dollar held steady against the other majors currencies on Friday, after the release of positive U.S. data supported optimism over the strength of the U.S. economy.

Trading volumes were expected to be thin this week as trader were beginning to unwind positions ahead of the Christmas holiday.

EUR/USD was up 0.13% at 1.0450.

Th U.S. Census Bureau said new home sales rose 5.2% to 592.000 units in November, beating expectations for a 2.1% increase to 575.000.

In addition, the University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index hit 98.2 this month, up from a previous estimate of 98.0. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged in December.

The greenback has also remained broadly supported since the Federal Reserve concluded its policy meeting last week by raising interest rates by 25 basis points and projected three more rate hikes for 2017.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD slipped 0.15% to seven-week lows of 1.2267.

Earlier Friday, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product grew at a rate of 0.6% in the third quarter, up from a previous estimate of 0.5% and above expectations for a growth rate of 0.5%.

A separate report showed that the U.K. current account deficit widened to £25.5 billion in the last quarter from £22.1 billion in the second quarter, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of £25.9 billion.

Analysts had expected the current account deficit to widen to £27.5 billion in the third quarter.

USD/JPY fell 0.25% to 117.26, while USD/CHF edged up 0.08% to 1.0261.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.76% at 0.7163 and with NZD/USD dropping 0.58% to 0.6865.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD gained 0.44% to a five-week high of 1.3544.

Statistics Canada said GDP fell 0.3% in October, compared to expectations for a 0.1% rise.

Canada’s economy grew at a rate of 0.4% in September, up from a previous reading of 0.3%.

The commodity-related Canadian dollar was also affected by a drop in oil prices on Friday, following news of increasing output from Libya.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 103.02, just off Tuesday’s fresh 14-year highs of 103.62.

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New home sales 592K vs. 575K forecast


In a report, the Census Bureau said that new home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592K, from 563K in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected new home sales to rise to 575K last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEA7K0PM_M.jpg © Reuters.

Mexican unemployment rate 3.50% vs. 3.55% forecast


In a report, Insituto Nacional de Estadistica Y Geografia said that Mexican Unemployment Rate fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.50%, from 3.70% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected Mexican Unemployment Rate to fall to 3.55% last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/unemployment_M_1440049657.jpg

Dollar index little changed, U.S. data on tap

- The dollar was little changed against the other majors currencies on Friday, as investors eyed the release of U.S. reports on new home sales and consumer sentiment due later in the day.

Trading volumes were expected to be thin this week as trader were beginning to unwind positions ahead of the Christmas holiday.

EUR/USD edged up 0.15% to 1.0452.

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday that gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in the three months ended September 30, up from a previous estimate of 3.2% and above expectations for a reading of 3.3%.

The greenback has been broadly supported since the Federal Reserve concluded its policy meeting last week by raising interest rates by 25 basis points and projected three more rate hikes for 2017.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD slipped 0.23% to seven-week lows of 1.2255.

Earlier Friday, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said GDP grew at a rate of 0.6% in the third quarter, up from a previous estimate of 0.5% and above expectations for a growth rate of 0.5%.

A separate report showed that the U.K. current account deficit widened to £25.5 billion in the last quarter from £22.1 billion in the second quarter, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of £25.9 billion.

Analysts had expected the current account deficit to widen to £27.5 billion in the third quarter.

USD/JPY fell 0.18% to 117.33, while USD/CHF held steady at 1.0251.

The Australian dollar was weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.58% at 0.7175, while NZD/USD declined 0.41% to 0.6877.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD rose 0.20% to 1.3511.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 103.05, just off Tuesday’s fresh 14-year highs of 103.62.

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Sri Lanka stocks higher at close of trade; CSE All-Share up 0.11%

– Sri Lanka stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Footwear&Textile, Construction&Engineering and Trading sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share gained 0.11%.

The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were Paragon Ceylon PLC (CM:PARA), which rose 14.42% or 7.50 points to trade at 59.50 at the close. Meanwhile, Amana Takaful PLC (CM:ATL) added 12.50% or 0.100 points to end at 0.900 and Palm Garden Hotels PLC (CM:PALM) was up 12.16% or 3.60 points to 33.20 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC (CM:ASHO), which fell 11.99% or 143.90 points to trade at 1056.10 at the close. City Housing and Real Estate Company PLC (CM:CHOU) declined 7.23% or 0.60 points to end at 7.70 and PCH Holdings PLC (CM:PCHH) was down 7.14% or 0.100 points to 1.300.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 88 to 43 and 48 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.64% or 0.34 to $52.61 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February fell 0.60% or 0.33 to hit $54.72 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.10% or 1.15 to trade at $1131.85 a troy ounce.

GBP/LKR was down 0.25% to 183.575, while USD/LKR rose 0.09% to 149.760.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.06% at 103.01.

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Top 5 things to watch today

- (DE:Deutsche Bank), (SIX:Credit Suisse) settle U.S. mortgage-linked cases. Italian government approves €20 bn bailout for banks. (MI:BMPS) to tap fund. U.K. Q3 quarter-on-quarter GDP growth revised up to 0.6%. Global stock markets wind down ahead of Christmas holiday period. Oil lower on profit-taking as dollar index steady around 103 mark.

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Dollar edges lower vs. rivals in holiday-thinned trade

- The dollar edged lower against the other majors currencies on Friday, as investors eyed the release of U.S. reports on new home sales and consumer sentiment due later in the day, after third-quarter economic growth data exceeded market expectations on Thursday.

Trading volumes were expected to be thin this week as trader were beginning to unwind positions ahead of the Christmas holiday.

EUR/USD edged up 0.17% to 1.0454.

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday that gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in the three months ended September 30, up from a previous estimate of 3.2% and above expectations for a reading of 3.3%.

The greenback has been broadly supported since the Federal Reserve concluded its policy meeting last week by raising interest rates by 25 basis points and projected three more rate hikes for 2017.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD slipped 0.11% to 1.2270.

Earlier Friday, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said GDP grew at a rate of 0.6% in the third quarter, up from a previous estimate of 0.5% and above expectations for a growth rate of 0.5%.

A separate report showed that the U.K. current account deficit widened to £25.5 billion in the last quarter from £22.1 billion in the second quarter, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of £25.9 billion.

Analysts had expected the current account deficit to widen to £27.5 billion in the third quarter.

USD/JPY fell 0.18% to 117.34, while USD/CHF held steady at 1.0250.

The Australian dollar was weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.10% at 0.7211, while NZD/USD held steady at 0.6909.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD was almost unchanged at 1.3485.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.15% at 102.91, just off Tuesday’s fresh 14-year highs of 103.62.

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U.K. Index of Services 1.0% vs. 0.9% forecast


In a report, National Statistics said that U.K. Index of Services rose to 1.0%, from 0.8% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected U.K. Index of Services to rise 0.9% last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEA6T0E4_M.jpg © Reuters.

U.K. current account balance -25.5B vs. -27.5B forecast


In a report, National Statistics said that U.K. current account balance fell to a seasonally adjusted -25.5B, from -22.1B in the preceding month whose figure was revised up from -25.9B.

Analysts had expected U.K. current account balance to fall -27.5B last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEA6F131_M.jpg © Reuters.

Philippines stocks lower at close of trade; PSEi Composite down 0.36%

– Philippines stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Services, Property and Industrials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Philippines, the PSEi Composite declined 0.36% to hit a new 6-months low.

The best performers of the session on the PSEi Composite were Jollibee Foods Corp (PS:JFC), which rose 2.75% or 5.100 points to trade at 190.600 at the close. Meanwhile, Security Bank Corp (PS:SECB) added 2.56% or 5.00 points to end at 200.00 and Robinsons Land Corp (PS:RLC) was up 1.63% or 0.400 points to 24.950 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Metro Pacific Investments Corp (PS:MPI), which fell 3.07% or 0.190 points to trade at 5.990 at the close. Alliance Global Group Inc (PS:AGI) declined 2.38% or 0.300 points to end at 12.300 and Aboitiz Power Corp (PS:AP) was down 2.35% or 1.00 points to 41.50.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Philippines Stock Exchange by 101 to 67 and 48 ended unchanged.

Shares in Alliance Global Group Inc (PS:AGI) fell to 3-years lows; losing 2.38% or 0.300 to 12.300.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.21% or 2.35 to $1133.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.87% or 0.46 to hit $52.49 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract fell 0.76% or 0.42 to trade at $54.63 a barrel.

CNY/PHP was down 0.22% to 7.1605, while USD/PHP fell 0.23% to 49.763.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.03% at 103.04.

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European stocks mostly higher in holiday-thinned trade; DAX up 0.08%

- European stocks opened mostly higher on Friday, although trading volumes were expected to remain thin as traders were unwinding positions ahead of the Christmas holiday.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.35%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.11%, while Germany’s DAX 30 edged up 0.08%.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) edged up 0.10% and 0.16%, while Germany’s Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) and Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) rallied 1.31% and 3.58%.

Deutsche Bank announced on Friday that it had agreed to pay $7.2 billion to settle an investigation led by the U.S. Department of Justice into alleged mis-selling of mortgage securities.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) and Unicredit (MI:CRDI) gained 0.98% and 1.96% respectively.

Elsewhere, BASF SE (DE:BASFN) saw shares decline 0.32% even after the Swiss company’s newest herbicide, Engenia, was granted approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 dipped 0.02%, weighed by losses in the mining sector.

Shares in Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) dropped 0.40% and BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) slid 0.43%, while rival Glencore (LON:GLEN) declined 0.62%.

Financial stocks were also mostly lower, as Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) slipped 0.27% and HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) retreated 0.43%, while Barclays (LON:BARC) dropped 0.55%. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) overperformed however, with shares up 2.24%.

Barclays’s stock was hit by news the lender is being sued by federal prosecutors for allegedly fraudulent MBS issued during the frothiest peaks of the U.S. housing bubble.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.02% uptick, S&P 500 futures showed a 0.03% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.04% dip.

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Gold edges higher but remains close to 10-month trough

- Gold prices edged higher on Friday, but the precious metal was still hovering close to a 10-month trough as the stronger U.S. dollar and expectations for more U.S. rate hikes next year continued to weigh.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery were up 0.13% at $1,132.15, not far from the 10-month low of December 15 at $1,123.90.

The February contract ended Thursday’s session 0.22% lower at $1,130.70 an ounce.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,123.90 and resistance at $1,136.10, Wednesday’s high.

The dollar was boosted after U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday that gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in the three months ended September 30, up from a previous estimate of 3.2% and above expectations for a reading of 3.3%.

The greenback has been broadly supported since the Federal Reserve concluded its policy meeting last week by raising interest rates by 25 basis points and projected three more rate hikes for 2017.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 103.06, just off Tuesday’s fresh 14-year highs of 103.62.

A stronger U.S. dollar usually weighs on gold, as it dampens the metal's appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures for March delivery slipped 0.21% to $15.838 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery edged up 0.10% to $2.502 a pound.

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Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse settle U.S. mortgage cases

- (DE:Deutsche Bank) said Friday it has agreed a $7.2 bn settlement of its U.S. mortgage-linked case.
German Bank agrees penalty of $3.1 bn in sale of mortgage-backed securities with the U.S. Department of Justice.
To also provide a further $4.1 bn in consumer relief in U.S. in form of aid to homeowners, borrowers.
DoJ had sought a settlement of $14 bn.
Deutsche Bank said it would take a pretax charge of $1.17 bn in Q4 earnings to cover the penalty.
It said the settlement is not expected to have a "material impact" on 2016 financial results.
(SIX:Credit Suisse) also settled a separate mortgage-linked case with DoJ with payment of $5.3 bn.

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German Gfk consumer climate 9.9 vs. 9.9 forecast


In a report, research group Gfk said that its index of Germany’s consumer climate rose to 9.9, from 9.8 in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected Gfk consumer climate to rise to 9.9 last month.]]> http://glocdn.investing.com/news/germany_M_1440050151.jpg

Taiwan stocks lower at close of trade; Taiwan Weighted down 0.44%

– Taiwan stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the , Electricity and Iron&Steel sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Taiwan, the Taiwan Weighted lost 0.44% to hit a new 1-month low.

The best performers of the session on the Taiwan Weighted were Jye Tai Precision Industrial Co Ltd (TW:6165), which rose 9.92% or 1.30 points to trade at 14.40 at the close. Meanwhile, Genmont Biotec (TW:3164) added 6.93% or 1.50 points to end at 23.15 and Sunonwealth (TW:2421) was up 6.76% or 1.70 points to 26.85 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Transasia (TW:6702), which fell 9.88% or 0.08 points to trade at 0.73 at the close. China General (TW:1305) declined 5.88% or 1.50 points to end at 24.00 and Sheng Yu Steel (TW:2029) was down 5.28% or 1.90 points to 34.10.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Taiwan Stock Exchange by 499 to 253 and 125 ended unchanged.

Shares in Transasia (TW:6702) fell to all time lows; falling 9.88% or 0.08 to 0.73.

Crude oil for February delivery was down 0.53% or 0.28 to $52.67 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February fell 0.38% or 0.21 to hit $54.84 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.19% or 2.10 to trade at $1132.80 a troy ounce.

USD/TWD was up 0.38% to 32.148, while TWD/CNY rose 0.09% to 0.2161.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.07% at 103.00.

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Australia stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 0.28%

– Australia stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Metals&Mining, Materials and Resources sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.28%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Altium Ltd (AX:ALU), which rose 2.84% or 0.220 points to trade at 7.980 at the close. Meanwhile, Virtus Health Ltd (AX:VRT) added 2.49% or 0.150 points to end at 6.170 and Scentre (AX:SCG) was up 2.01% or 0.090 points to 4.560 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (AX:FMG), which fell 4.47% or 0.270 points to trade at 5.770 at the close. Estia Health Ltd (AX:EHE) declined 3.21% or 0.080 points to end at 2.410 and Tatts Group Ltd (AX:TTS) was down 3.08% or 0.140 points to 4.410.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 428 to 428 and 337 ended unchanged.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 3.19% to 10.543.

Gold for February delivery was up 0.15% or 1.75 to $1132.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.43% or 0.23 to hit $52.72 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract fell 0.33% or 0.18 to trade at $54.87 a barrel.

AUD/USD was down 0.26% to 0.7199, while AUD/JPY fell 0.35% to 84.53.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.09% at 102.98.

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U.S., Russia to increase nuclear weapons capabilities

- The U.S. and Russia appear poised to increase their respective nuclear weapons capabilities, according to statements made today by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Trump made his defense policy remarks during a posting on the social media platform, Twitter, early this afternoon.

Putin made his comments during a meeting of his defense ministry.

"The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes," said President-elect Trump.

Trump had talked about updating the American nuclear arsenal during the presidential campaign, previously, but the short, 150 character Twitter message was his longest discourse on the matter so far.

There may be several reasons behind the move by Trump and his national security team, led by Gen. Michael Flynn, the national security advisor, Gen. James Mattis, the Defense Secretary, and other former military officials at homeland security and in the White House.

During the last year, there have been a number of reports in the international media that indicate ISIS may have acquired radioactive materials to produce a nuclear weapon. Trump and team view ISIS as America's top strategic, military threat.

Additionally, the Chinese are increasingly flexing their muscles over territories in the South China Sea and claiming international sea lanes as being a part of their territory.

Trump's generals and advisors may be nudging him to signal the Chinese that the U.S. takes the sovereignty of its neighbors and trading partners in the South China Sea and the nearby Sea of Japan seriously as a defense matter, experts said.

Russia's comments come in the context of the increased revenues expected next year from oil production cuts -- and higher prices. The Russians have been unable to modernize their military, and buy 2500 tanks, as desired, for some time, due to low oil prices. Its recent agreement with OPEC may increase its cash flow, giving it the capability to purchase the tanks as well as nuclear weapons.

The Washington Post erroneously on Thursday afternoon, labeled Trump's remarks as a "radical break for U.S. foreign policy." Nuclear weapons are an element of defense policy, not foreign policy, however.

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Canada stocks higher at close of trade; S&P/TSX Composite up 0.19%

– Canada stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Telecoms, Healthcare and Utilities sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Toronto, the S&P/TSX Composite added 0.19%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/TSX Composite were Guyana Goldfields Inc . (TO:GUY), which rose 10.19% or 0.480 points to trade at 5.190 at the close. Meanwhile, ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TO:PLI) added 5.03% or 0.080 points to end at 1.670 and Bombardier Inc (TO:BBDb) was up 3.37% or 0.070 points to 2.150 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc . (TO:RBA), which fell 6.45% or 3.280 points to trade at 47.550 at the close. HudBay Minerals Inc. (TO:HBM) declined 4.04% or 0.32 points to end at 7.60 and Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (TO:IVN) was down 3.28% or 0.080 points to 2.360.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Toronto Stock Exchange by 635 to 531 and 145 ended unchanged.

The S&P/TSX 60 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/TSX Composite options, was up 4.18% to 10.71.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.23% or 2.65 to $1130.55 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.32% or 0.17 to hit $52.66 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.62% or 0.34 to trade at $54.80 a barrel.

CAD/USD was down 0.59% to 0.7411, while CAD/EUR fell 0.71% to 0.7101.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.04% at 103.08.

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Brazil stocks lower at close of trade; Bovespa down 0.68%

– Brazil stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Basic Materials, Industrials and Consumption sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Sao Paulo, the Bovespa fell 0.68%.

The best performers of the session on the Bovespa were Kroton Educacional SA (SA:KROT3), which rose 4.45% or 0.55 points to trade at 12.90 at the close. Meanwhile, Estacio Participacoes SA (SA:ESTC3) added 3.93% or 0.56 points to end at 14.80 and EcoRodovias SA (SA:ECOR3) was up 3.22% or 0.24 points to 7.70 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Vale SA (SA:VALE5), which fell 5.18% or 1.19 points to trade at 21.78 at the close. Gerdau SA (SA:GGBR4) declined 4.27% or 0.46 points to end at 10.32 and Bradespar SA (SA:BRAP4) was down 4.21% or 0.63 points to 14.32.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange by 205 to 162 and 35 ended unchanged.

The CBOE Brazil Etf Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Bovespa options, was down 0.99% to 34.95 a new 1-month low.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.24% or 2.75 to $1130.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.67% or 0.35 to hit $52.84 a barrel, while the March US coffee C contract fell 3.71% or 5.35 to trade at $138.90 .

USD/BRL was down 1.19% to 3.2877, while EUR/BRL fell 1.09% to 3.4307.

The US Dollar Index was up 0.04% at 103.08.

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Dollar declines, retreats from 14-year high

- The dollar dipped against a basket of currencies today, retreating from the 14-year high it set earlier this week.

The price of gold and silver were also down on intraday trading.

Traders took profits and chose to ignore off generally good U.S. economic data.

The euro/dollar exchange pairing was 1.0434, up 0.10% this afternoon.

The dollar/yen exchange pairing was up 117.62, up 0.06% today.

The pound/dollar pair was down, however, 1.2285, or 0.52%.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said new orders for U.S. capital goods rose more than forecast in November and that the economy grew faster in the third quarter than it had forecast.

Jobless claims, however, rose to their highest since June, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The price of gold was $1129.60, down $3.60, or 0.32% per troy ounce on the NYMEX.

The price of silver was also down, at 2:45 Eastern, at $15.83 per ounce, or 14 cents.

The price of copper was up.

The news that President-elect Trump had named Sean Spicer, from the Republican National Committee, as his press secretary, and other aides, like Jason Miller and Hope Hicks, from his campaign, as assistants in the communications office of the White House, did not contribute, it seems, to market momentum today for currencies.

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U.S. economy grew at 3.5% pace in third quarter

- The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5% rate during the third quarter, the fastest pace in two years. But the U.S. economy, overall, is expected to finish 2016 with one of its worst performances since the Great Depression.

The growth was powered strength in consumer spending, business investment and the government sector, the Department of Commerce said Thursday. The government had previously estimated last quarter’s annual growth rate at 3.2%.

The data indicates the American consumer is healthy, emboldened by ongoing gains in employment, increases in wages, and solid balance sheets at the office.

The economy’s growth during last quarter marked a dramatic increase from the sluggish annual growth of 0.8% in the first quarter and 1.4% during the second. Still, growth is expected to slow to a roughly 1.5% annual rate in the October-December quarter.

Growth for the entire year of 2016 is poised report at 1.5%, a decline from 2.6% in 2015 and, overall, the weakest performance since the economy shrank 2.8% in 2009 at the bottom of the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, under the leadership of President Obama.

Obama's $1 trillion stimulus package, passed by the Congress immediately upon his installation as president, failed to revive the U.S. economy, and his green regulatory agenda is said to have hamstrung manufacturing during the last eight years.

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Major market indexes down today

- The major market indexes were down today, and the 20,000.00 Dow remains an investment dream for now.

As of 2 p.m. Eastern today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 19990.33, a decline of 0.19% from its close yesterday.

The Nasdaq was also in the doldrums at 5442.20, a drop of 0.53% from yesterday.

The S&P 500 sank too during intraday trading and was at 2258.53, a decline of 0.29%.

The positive sentiment of the last month plus since the U.S. presidential election has been tempered somewhat, as investors are beginning to wonder whether some stocks are overpriced.

Many equities are not only at all-time highs, but are also at the highest GAAP P/E valuation in years, raising a red flag for some. This is particularly true for technology shares, analysts said.

Another red flag for some traders -- volatility has been low. That could change dramatically on market moving news when the new president in the U.S. takes office on Jan. 20.

The coveted 20,000.00 close for the DJIA is another kind of red flag for investors. Some think the psychological barrier of overcoming that level on the index may be holding back gains in the short-term.

There is also concern in the market now about what kind of strategy the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will adopt when President Trump, after Jan. 20, appoints new members, on advise from fellow billionaire, Carl Icahn, who has been appointed a new White House advisor on regulatory reform.

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Denmark stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Copenhagen 20 up 0.30%

– Denmark stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Real Estate, Personal&Household Goods and Oil&Gas sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Copenhagen, the OMX Copenhagen 20 gained 0.30% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Copenhagen 20 were Nets A/S (CO:NETS), which rose 2.41% or 3.00 points to trade at 127.50 at the close. Meanwhile, Dong Energy A/S (CO:DENERG) added 1.76% or 4.60 points to end at 265.60 and Coloplast A/S (CO:COLOb) was up 1.58% or 7.4 points to 475.4 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Novozymes A/S B (CO:NZYMb), which fell 1.69% or 4.1 points to trade at 238.6 at the close. Lundbeck A/S (CO:LUN) declined 1.58% or 4.4 points to end at 274.6 and Genmab (CO:GEN) was down 1.30% or 15.0 points to 1136.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange by 62 to 58 and 19 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 1.07% or 0.56 to $53.05 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 1.18% or 0.64 to hit $55.10 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.17% or 1.95 to trade at $1131.25 a troy ounce.

USD/DKK was down 0.22% to 7.1154, while EUR/DKK fell 0.00% to 7.4337.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.05% at 102.99.

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France stocks mixed at close of trade; CAC 40 up 0.02%

– France stocks were mixed after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Oil&Gas, Healthcare and Financials sectors led shares higher while losses in the Technology, Basic Materials and Utilities sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 gained 0.02%, while the SBF 120 index declined 0.00%.

The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were Technip (PA:TECF), which rose 1.73% or 1.16 points to trade at 68.05 at the close. Meanwhile, Total SA (PA:TOTF) added 1.25% or 0.59 points to end at 48.19 and Sanofi SA (PA:SASY) was up 1.17% or 0.88 points to 76.08 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Nokia Oyj (PA:NOKIA), which fell 5.10% or 0.242 points to trade at 4.503 at the close. Vivendi SA (PA:VIV) declined 2.56% or 0.47 points to end at 17.86 and ArcelorMittal SA (AS:ISPA) was down 2.39% or 0.175 points to 7.134.

The top performers on the SBF 120 were Elis Services SA (PA:ELIS) which rose 8.26% to 16.84, BIC (PA:BICP) which was up 1.87% to settle at 128.00 and Teleperformance (PA:ROCH) which gained 1.85% to close at 95.74.

The worst performers were Nokia Oyj (PA:NOKIA) which was down 5.10% to 4.503 in late trade, CGG SA (PA:GEPH) which lost 3.54% to settle at 13.8900 and Vivendi SA (PA:VIV) which was down 2.56% to 17.86 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 310 to 256 and 108 ended unchanged.

The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was down 0.59% to 14.62.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.24% or 2.70 to $1130.50 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 1.07% or 0.56 to hit $53.05 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 1.16% or 0.63 to trade at $55.09 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.17% to 1.0445, while EUR/GBP rose 0.64% to 0.8493.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.04% at 103.00.

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Italy stocks lower at close of trade; Investing.com Italy 40 down 0.60%

– Italy stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Telecoms, Healthcare and Technology sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Milan, the Italy 40 declined 0.60%.

The best performers of the session on the Italy 40 were Saipem (MI:SPMI), which rose 2.69% or 0.0133 points to trade at 0.5070 at the close. Meanwhile, Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl (MI:PMII) added 2.62% or 0.0101 points to end at 0.3950 and Banco Popolare Sc (MI:BAPO) was up 2.45% or 0.060 points to 2.512 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Mediaset (MI:MS), which fell 12.40% or 0.566 points to trade at 4.000 at the close. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (MI:BMPS) declined 7.48% or 1.2200 points to end at 15.0800 and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (MI:FCHA) was down 3.04% or 0.265 points to 8.455.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Milan Stock Exchange by 179 to 154 and 20 ended unchanged.

Shares in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (MI:BMPS) fell to all time lows; falling 7.48% or 1.2200 to 15.0800.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 1.07% or 0.56 to $53.05 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 1.18% or 0.64 to hit $55.10 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.20% or 2.25 to trade at $1130.95 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.18% to 1.0446, while EUR/GBP rose 0.65% to 0.8494.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.03% at 103.01.

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Finland stocks lower at close of trade; OMX Helsinki 25 down 0.90%

– Finland stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Technology, Utilities and Industrials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Helsinki, the OMX Helsinki 25 declined 0.90%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Helsinki 25 were UPM-Kymmene Oyj (HE:UPM1V), which rose 0.75% or 0.17 points to trade at 22.89 at the close. Meanwhile, Orion Oyj B (HE:ORNBV) added 0.36% or 0.15 points to end at 41.95 and Stora Enso Oyj R (HE:STERV) was up 0.25% or 0.025 points to 9.965 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Nokia Oyj (HE:NOKIA), which fell 4.91% or 0.232 points to trade at 4.496 at the close. Outotec Oyj (HE:OTE1V) declined 1.50% or 0.076 points to end at 4.984 and Huhtamaki Oyj (HE:HUH1V) was down 1.49% or 0.53 points to 35.06.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Helsinki Stock Exchange by 81 to 53 and 19 ended unchanged.

Shares in UPM-Kymmene Oyj (HE:UPM1V) rose to all time highs; up 0.75% or 0.17 to 22.89. Shares in Stora Enso Oyj R (HE:STERV) rose to 52-week highs; up 0.25% or 0.025 to 9.965.

Brent oil for February delivery was up 1.23% or 0.67 to $55.13 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 1.14% or 0.60 to hit $53.09 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.23% or 2.65 to trade at $1130.55 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.16% to 1.0444, while EUR/GBP rose 0.66% to 0.8495.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.02% at 103.02.

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U.K. stocks higher at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 up 0.29%

– U.K. stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Industrial Metals&Mining, General Retailers and Chemicals sectors led shares higher.

At the close in London, the United Kingdom 100 gained 0.29% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the United Kingdom 100 were DCC (LON:DCC), which rose 3.58% or 210.0 points to trade at 6070.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Intertek Group PLC (LON:ITRK) added 2.89% or 96.00 points to end at 3414.00 and Fresnillo PLC (LON:FRES) was up 2.84% or 31.00 points to 1124.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were BHP Billiton PLC (LON:BLT), which fell 1.63% or 21.00 points to trade at 1270.50 at the close. Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) declined 0.98% or 30.500 points to end at 3081.000 and Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) was down 0.77% or 1.75 points to 227.00.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the London Stock Exchange by 1030 to 808 and 438 ended unchanged.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.23% or 2.65 to $1130.55 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.72% or 0.38 to hit $52.87 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.88% or 0.48 to trade at $54.94 a barrel.

GBP/USD was down 0.48% to 1.2294, while EUR/GBP rose 0.66% to 0.8495.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.03% at 103.01.

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Germany stocks lower at close of trade; DAX down 0.11%

– Germany stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Basic Resources, Technology and Utilities sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Frankfurt, the DAX fell 0.11%, while the MDAX index declined 0.08%, and the TecDAX index declined 0.44%.

The best performers of the session on the DAX were Fresenius SE&Co KGAA O.N. (DE:FREG), which rose 0.71% or 0.520 points to trade at 73.520 at the close. Meanwhile, Deutsche Post AG NA O.N. (DE:DPWGn) added 0.51% or 0.160 points to end at 31.350 and Merck KGaA (DE:MRCG) was up 0.49% or 0.480 points to 99.380 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Deutsche Bank AG NA O.N. (DE:DBKGn), which fell 1.36% or 0.245 points to trade at 17.750 at the close. Deutsche Boerse AG Z.UMT. (DE:DB11) declined 1.11% or 0.88 points to end at 78.13 and Linde AG O.N. (DE:LING) was down 1.04% or 1.650 points to 157.250.

The top performers on the MDAX were Stroeer SE (DE:SAXG) which rose 3.10% to 41.050, GEA Group AG (DE:G1AG) which was up 1.62% to settle at 38.020 and K+S AG NA O.N. (DE:SDFGn) which gained 1.48% to close at 21.950.

The worst performers were Osram Licht AG (F:OSRn) which was down 2.21% to 49.191 in late trade, Steinhoff International Holdings NV (DE:SNHG) which lost 1.82% to settle at 4.74 and Bilfinger SE O.N. (DE:GBFG) which was down 1.63% to 36.510 at the close.

The top performers on the TecDAX were SMA Solar Technology AG (DE:S92G) which rose 2.17% to 25.145, Carl Zeiss Meditec AG (DE:AFXG) which was up 0.52% to settle at 34.605 and Slm Solution G (DE:AM3D) which gained 0.28% to close at 32.16.

The worst performers were Alix Resources Corp (F:37N2) which was down 12.12% to 0.029 in late trade, Siltronic AG (DE:WAFGn) which lost 3.60% to settle at 43.910 and Telefonica Deutschland Holding AG (DE:O2Dn) which was down 2.14% to 4.027 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by 463 to 287 and 30 ended unchanged.

Shares in Fresenius SE&Co KGAA O.N. (DE:FREG) rose to 3-years highs; rising 0.71% or 0.520 to 73.520. Shares in Deutsche Post AG NA O.N. (DE:DPWGn) rose to all time highs; up 0.51% or 0.160 to 31.350.

The DAX volatility index, which measures the implied volatility of DAX options, was down 0.57% to 14.90.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.23% or 2.55 to $1130.65 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.74% or 0.39 to hit $52.88 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.90% or 0.49 to trade at $54.95 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.15% to 1.0443, while EUR/GBP rose 0.66% to 0.8495.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.02% at 103.02.

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Poland stocks higher at close of trade; WIG30 up 0.47%

– Poland stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Telecoms, Media and Energy sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Warsaw, the WIG30 gained 0.47%.

The best performers of the session on the WIG30 were Eurocash SA (WA:EUR), which rose 3.38% or 1.29 points to trade at 39.50 at the close. Meanwhile, Energa SA (WA:ENGP) added 2.29% or 0.21 points to end at 9.37 and Polski Koncern Naftowy ORLEN SA (WA:PKN) was up 2.15% or 1.83 points to 86.91 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Bank Millennium SA (WA:MILP), which fell 5.55% or 0.30 points to trade at 5.11 at the close. Kernel Holding SA (WA:KER) declined 3.62% or 2.34 points to end at 62.25 and mBank SA (WA:MBK) was down 3.27% or 11.25 points to 332.75.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by 374 to 211 and 179 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.74% or 0.39 to $52.88 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.94% or 0.51 to hit $54.97 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.15% or 1.70 to trade at $1131.50 a troy ounce.

EUR/PLN was up 0.24% to 4.4217, while USD/PLN rose 0.00% to 4.2309.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.09% at 102.95.

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Norway stocks higher at close of trade; Oslo OBX up 0.27%

– Norway stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Consumer Durables And Apparel, Transport and Technology Hardware&Equipment sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Oslo, the Oslo OBX rose 0.27%.

The best performers of the session on the Oslo OBX were Yara International ASA (OL:YAR), which rose 1.92% or 6.4 points to trade at 339.4 at the close. Meanwhile, DnB ASA (OL:DNB) added 1.33% or 1.7 points to end at 128.2 and Orkla ASA (OL:ORK) was up 0.98% or 0.75 points to 76.95 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Seadrill Limited (OL:SDRL), which fell 5.78% or 1.9 points to trade at 30.3 at the close. DNO International ASA (OL:DNO) declined 2.03% or 0.17 points to end at 7.96 and REC Silicon ASA (OL:REC) was down 1.74% or 0.02 points to 1.19.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Oslo Stock Exchange by 105 to 76 and 20 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.74% or 0.39 to $52.88 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.88% or 0.48 to hit $54.94 a barrel, while the February Gold contract fell 0.19% or 2.15 to trade at $1131.05 a troy ounce.

EUR/NOK was up 0.52% to 9.0948, while USD/NOK rose 0.23% to 8.7028.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.08% at 102.96.

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Russia stocks lower at close of trade; MICEX down 1.70%

– Russia stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Power and Telecoms sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Moscow, the MICEX fell 1.70%.

The best performers of the session on the MICEX were MosEnrg (MCX:MSNG), which rose 2.79% or 0.0630 points to trade at 2.3230 at the close. Meanwhile, MMK (MCX:MAGN) added 1.55% or 0.520 points to end at 34.085 and Polymetal International PLC (MCX:POLY) was up 1.44% or 8.50 points to 599.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were SG mechel (MCX:MTLR), which fell 4.61% or 8.69 points to trade at 180.01 at the close. Rosseti ao (MCX:RSTI) declined 4.41% or 0.0520 points to end at 1.1280 and Magnit (MCX:MGNT) was down 3.15% or 339.0 points to 10411.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Moscow Stock Exchange by 169 to 63 and 15 ended unchanged.

The Russian VIX, which measures the implied volatility of MICEX options, was up 1.21% to 23.450.

Gold for February delivery was down 0.24% or 2.70 to $1130.50 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.76% or 0.40 to hit $52.89 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.95% or 0.52 to trade at $54.98 a barrel.

USD/RUB was down 0.31% to 60.9600, while EUR/RUB fell 0.28% to 63.681.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.08% at 102.96.

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Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 25 up 0.22%

– Israel stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Oil&Gas, Financials and Banking sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 25 rose 0.22%.

The best performers of the session on the TA 25 were Israel Corp (TA:ILCO), which rose 3.19% or 1910 points to trade at 61810 at the close. Meanwhile, ICL Israel Chemicals Ltd (TA:ICL) added 3.08% or 46 points to end at 1539 and Teva (TA:TEVA) was up 2.31% or 320 points to 14190 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Azrieli Group (TA:AZRG), which fell 1.92% or 320 points to trade at 16320 at the close. OPKO Health Inc (TA:OPK) declined 1.01% or 46 points to end at 4514 and Delek Group (TA:DLEKG) was down 0.78% or 650 points to 82250.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 210 to 146 and 87 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 1.20% or 0.63 to $53.12 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 1.29% or 0.70 to hit $55.16 a barrel, while the February Gold contract rose 0.12% or 1.40 to trade at $1134.60 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was down 0.07% to 3.8212, while EUR/ILS rose 0.20% to 3.9967.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.15% at 102.89.

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