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International markets roundup

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks are lower with gains in shares of technology and consumer discretionary companies unable to offset losses in healthcare stocks such as Johnson & Johnson.

Walt Disney struck a deal to buy Twenty-First Century Fox's assets for $US52.4 billion in stock.

Fox rose 4.12 per cent and Disney 2.2 per cent, boosting the consumer discretionary sector by 0.5 per cent. Other media stocks Netflix and Comcast were also higher.

Gains in technology stocks Alphabet and Facebook initially lifted the Nasdaq up 0.15 per cent to 6,886.32, before its followed its peers and fell into the red.

Healthcare stocks were the biggest laggards, led by a 0.7 per cent fall in Johnson & Johnson and 1.3 per cent fall in AbbVie.

In late afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.22 per cent at 24,532.54, while the S&P 500 was down 0.30 per cent, at 2,654.75 and the Nasdaq had shed 0.25 per cent to 6,858.63.

LONDON: Britain's top share index slipped on Thursday, weighed down by losses among financial stocks, while miner Lonmin soared after a rescue takeover bid.

The FTSE index fell 0.65 per cent to 7,448.12 points, with scarce impact from the Bank of England's decision to keep benchmark interest rates on hold. The decision was widely expected, with the economy slowing amid uncertainty over the country's exit from the European Union.

Weakness in bank stocks dragged European shares lower, as the financial sector caught the cold from US and Asian trading after a less hawkish than expected tone from the US Federal Reserve.

The Fed raised rates, as widely expected, but banks fell in Europe as cautious comments from Chair Janet Yellen on persistently low inflation shook investor confidence in financial stocks.

They dragged Europe's STOXX 600 down 0.2 per cent, while euro zone blue chips fell 0.1 per cent.

Germany's DAX closed 0.44 per cent lower at 13,068.08.

TOKYO: Asian stocks rose on Thursday after the Fed decision, while the MSCI World Index, which tracks stocks in 47 countries, was up 0.1 per cent.

China's central bank also raised rates, though marginally. While Chinese shares slipped, the wider impact was limited.

MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.20 per cent while Japan's Nikkei lost 0.28 per cent to 22,694.45, hurt by US dollar weakness after the Fed decision.

Hong Kong stocks were little changed on Thursday, as investors gave muted reaction to the Federal Reserve's widely expected US rate hike as well as China's tepid November economic data.

The Hang Seng index lost 0.19 per cent to 29,166.38. Its top gainer was Country Garden Holdings Company Ltd which rose 4.23 per cent, while the biggest loser was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd, down 4.10 per cent.

China's main Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.32 per cent at 3,292.44 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended 0.59 per cent lower at 4,026.15.

WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX50 Index increased 0.5 per cent, to 8323.75.