Stock market today: World stocks are mixed in muted holiday trading as 2023 draws to a close

Stock market today: World stocks are mixed in muted holiday trading as 2023 draws to a close

BANGKOK (AP) — European shares opened higher on Friday after a mixed session in Asia on the last trading day of the year for most markets.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.3% to 16,745.67 and the CAC 40 in Paris climbed 0.4% to 7,566.11. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.2% higher to 7,736.52.

The futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.1%.

Some world markets logged solid gains in 2023 while many have sagged. Benchmarks in France and Germany made double-digit advances while Britain’s has climbed just under 3%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gave up 0.2% to 33,464.17. It gained 27% in 2023, its best year in a decade as the Japanese central bank inched toward ending its longstanding ultra-lax monetary policy after inflation finally exceeded its target of about 2%.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong ended flat at 17,047.39, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.7% to 2,974.93. The Shanghai index lost about 3% this year and the Hang Seng fell nearly 14%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3% to 7,590.80, having gained about 6% for the year.

India’s Sensex slipped 0.3% to 72,279.18. It has gained more than 18% this year, reaching new highs as retail investors bought heavily on expectations that the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates next year, giving the U.S. and other economies a boost after it managed to bring inflation down from a peak of over 9% in 2022.

Taiwan’s Taiex edged 0.1% higher. It ended the year up more than 26%, powered by strong gains for semiconductor makers.

Markets were closed in South Korea and Thailand.

On Thursday, Wall Street was mostly quiet ahead of the final trading day of the year, though every major index is on track for weekly gains.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% and was on track for its ninth straight week of gains. It is up more than 24% for the year. A two-month rally has also pushed the benchmark index closer to breaking its all-time high set in January of 2022.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1% and has gained 3.5% in 2023.

The Nasdaq composite fell less than 0.1%. It has far outpaced the broader market this year and is on track to close 2023 with a gain of more than 44%.

There are few economic indicators out of Washington this week. The latest weekly report on unemployment benefits showed that applications rose last week, but not enough to raise concerns about the labor market or broader economy. The overall jobs market has been strong throughout 2023 and has been a driving force for the economy.

The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate retreated for the ninth straight week to its lowest level since May, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Mortgage rates have been easing since late October, along with long-term Treasury yields.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was at 3.87% early Friday. It surpassed 5.00% in October, but has been generally falling since then.

U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 55 cents at $72.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude advanced 70 cents to $77.85 per barrel.

Companies will soon wrap up their latest financial quarter and will start releasing those results in January. Overall, companies in the S&P 500 have notched relatively strong profit gains after stumbling during the first half of 2023. That has given Wall Street more hope the economy will remain strong in 2024.

The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation fell to 2.6% in November from a peak of 7.1% in 2022. That has helped improve forecasts for companies worried about inflation squeezing consumers and raising costs.

Wall Street is betting that the Fed is done raising interest rates and will likely shift to rate cuts in the new year. The central bank has held rates steady since its meeting in July, and Wall Street expects it to start cutting rates as early as March.

In currency dealings Friday, the U.S. dollar rose to 141.72 Japanese yen from 141.41 yen. The euro fell to $1.1052 from $1.1063.

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