Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sharp declines in Asia pressure Wall Street

Wall Street was poised to start the last trading day of the week with modest losses as markets in Asia saw sharp declines.

Ahead of the start to regular trading, Dow Jones industrial average index futures fell 0.1%, Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 0.3% and Nasdaq 100 index futures dipped 0.1%.

On Thursday, the Dow rose 0.6% to 15,509.21. The S&P 500 added 0.3% to 1,752.07. The Nasdaq composite was up 0.6% to 3,928.96.

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Asian stock markets were dragged down Friday by doubts about the durability of recoveries in the region's two biggest economies.

Japan released inflation figures that gave a mixed signal about the effectiveness of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic revitalization strategy and Chinese central bank's failed to inject funds into money markets this week to curb frothy credit growth.

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Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 2.8%, Seoul's Kospi fell 0.6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.6% and China's Shanghai composite index was down 1.4% at 2,139.80.

European shares moved lower, with benchmarks in Italy and Spain falling around 0.8%. There were more modest declines in the United Kingdom and Germany. The FTSE 100 index was down 0.1%. The DAX index lost 0.3%.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was up 12 cents at $97.23 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 25 cents to $97.11 on Thursday.

Contributing: Associated Press

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