OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open lower. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open down 22 points.
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Each Market in Focus
Australian shares finished a holiday-shortened week on a high note, lifting the benchmark index just into positive territory for the week.
Mining and technology stocks helped drive the S&P/ASX 200 0.4% higher to 6821.7, less than a percentage point off the all-time closing high hit in late November.
For the week, the index gained just under 0.1%, a third straight advance. Gains were broad Friday, though tempered by losses among health care and utilities shares.
U.S. stocks edged toward new highs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing at a new closing record and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipping from its peak Thursday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 24 points, or 0.1% to 28645 while the S&P 500 was roughly flat. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2%. The tech-heavy index had notched 10 consecutive record closes, its longest such streak since 1997.
E-commerce giant Amazon rose another $1.03, or less than 0.1%, building on its biggest one-day advance in nearly a year. On Thursday, the company said it had its best holiday season to date, selling billions of items from its site and tens of millions of Amazon devices.
Earlier, consumer discretionary shares in the S&P 500 added 0.4%. Nike rose 1%, among the biggest gainers in the Dow industrials. Hanesbrands climbed 0.8%.
Gold settled near a three-month high, clinching its best weekly gain in four months, bolstered by investor caution about how far the record rally for stocks can extend into 2020.
Gold for February delivery on Comex advanced $3.70, or 0.2%, at $1,518.10 an ounce, its highest level for the most-active contract since Sept. 24 when it closed at $1,540.20, according to FactSet data.
U.S. crude futures hovered around the flatline before settling up less than 0.1% at $61.72 a barrel after the EIA reported both a larger-than-expected decrease in oil inventories and a return to record production levels during the week ended Dec. 20.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index ended at a fresh record closing high of 419.74, up 0.2% in holiday-thinned trade on optimism about the prospect of a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal being signed.
Reports of a strong U.S. Christmas retail season lift retailers, with the Stoxx Europe 600 retail index the best-performing sub index, rising 1%.
Banks and insurers are lower, while Qiagen is the biggest pan-European faller, sliding by 18.2% after the Dutch biotechnology firm said Tuesday that it ended talks with potential suitors interested in buying the company.
Germany’s Dax ended up 0.3% and France’s CAC 40 up 0.1%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 ended up just 0.2%, while Italian banks helped drive a 0.6% drop in Italy’s FTSE MIB.
India’s Sensex rose for the first time in four sessions, with all but four of the benchmark’s 30 members advancing following stronger data from China and gains in U.S. stocks
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