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Stock markets tread water as all quiet on trade war front

WT24 Desk

LONDON – Stock traders found little to get the pulse racing on Friday as the trade war front was eerily quiet and Thanksgiving week sapped global trading volumes, AFP reports.

“It’s been quite the forgettable week and I don’t think today is going to
be any more memorable,” said Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst at Oanda
Europe.

With an almost empty economics schedule, markets were left primarily with the US-China trade conflict to trade on, as so often in recent weeks and
months, he said.

“Let’s face it, a deal is hardly looking likely at this point,” he said,
predicting that markets were therefore headed for a “dull” December.

European stocks markets gave up earlier modest gains to drift lower,
closing on a weaker note.

London underperformed its eurozone peers in response to a stronger pound which was boosted by expectations that Britain’s ruling Conservatives will win next month’s general election.

This would likely allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to push through his
Brexit agreement and avoid a no-deal divorce from the European Union.

Wall Street was also lower in the late New York morning as traders,
returning from a Thanksgiving holiday, allowed the main US indices to retreat
from record highs hit earlier in the week.

– Daimler skids –
US President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a bill in support of pro-
democracy protesters in Hong Kong and back their rights has sparked warnings of retaliation from Beijing and fuelled fears for negotiations on a mini trade deal that are in their final straight.

However, China has not detailed what its response to the Hong Kong law
will be and observers say it is unlikely to do anything to derail a tariffs
agreement owing to its weakening economy.

“China’s threats to retaliate over the US Hong Kong law will probably
remain just that; threats,” said Jeffrey Halley, also at Oanda.

“China has its own issues, especially around corpor

ate debt and regional bank credit quality. It can ill-afford to waste any
progress so far. Pragmatism should overcome anger.”

On the corporate front, shares in Daimler dropped on the Frankfurt bourse
as the German luxury automaker said it would slash at least 10,000 jobs
worldwide in a major cost-cutting drive to help finance the switch to
electric cars.

Shares in UK online supermarket Ocado surged after the company announced a deal to provide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to Japanese retail giant Aeon.

Among the day’s rare economic figures, eurozone data showed inflation rose to 1.0 percent, higher than analysts’ projections but still lagging under the weight of trade tensions.

Oil prices slumped ahead of an OPEC meeting next week that is expected to
“roll over but not deepen” current output cuts, according to Caroline Bain,
commodities analyst at Capital Economics.

Figures showing higher than expected oil output by US producers also
weighed heavily on prices, said David Madden at CMC.

– Key figures around 1640 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.9 percent at 7,346.53 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 13,236.38 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 5,905.17 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,703.58

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 28,283.30

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 percent at 23,293.91 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 2.0 percent at 26,346.49 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,871.98 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1019 from $1.1009

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2930 from $1.2912

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.23 pence from 85.27

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.52 yen from 109.51

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 3.2 percent at $61.24 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 3.6 percent at $56.01

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