International markets roundup

NEW YORK: Wall Street retreated as lower oil prices weighed on energy shares and Facebook and Apple declined, but major indexes still posted gains for the week.

Energy was the worst-performing major S&P sector, dropping 1.3 per cent.

Oil prices tumbled four per cent on signs Saudi Arabia and Iran were making little progress in achieving agreement ahead of talks by crude exporters aimed at freezing production.

Facebook shares fell 1.6 per cent and were one of the biggest drags on the S&P.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the social media company overestimated viewing time for video ads.

Even so, the S&P 500 recorded its best weekly performance in more than two months.

Stocks were given a boost on Wednesday when the US Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates steady, leaving intact the low-rate environment that has helped fuel the bull market.

"I just think after a few strong days and a little weakness in energy that folks are taking some profit before the weekend," said Gary Bradshaw, portfolio manager with Hodges Capital Management in Dallas. "I just feel like the market is going to keep grinding higher."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 131.01 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 18,261.45, the S&P 500 lost 12.49 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 2,164.69 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 33.78 points, or 0.63 per cent, to 5,305.75.

LONDON: European shares ended weaker, pulling back from two-week highs in the previous session after the Federal Reserve signalled an increasingly cautious approach to future rate hikes, with banks leading sectoral fallers.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.7 per cent lower, retreating after closing at its highest level since September 9 on Thursday. It rose 2.2 per cent in the week, the best performance in two months, but is still down more than five per cent this year.

"The Fed-fuelled rally that catapulted shares out of the summer doldrums this week is showing some signs of fatigue," said Jasper Lawler, Market Analyst at CMC Markets.

"The focus would now begin to switch to upcoming economic data and whether that makes a rate hike in December more or less likely."

London's FTSE 100 closed flat, down just 0.03 per cent at 6,909.43, while Germany's DAX lost 4.44 per cent to 10,626.97.

TOKYO: Asian shares held near 14-month highs, as investors restored bets the Federal Reserve was settling into a phase of very gradual interest rate rises, while Japanese bond yields fell after the Bank of Japan's radical new policy scheme.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up 0.15 per cent, driven by gains in Australia, and within sight of its highest levels since July 2015 that it hit in early September.

Japan's Nikkei dipped 0.32 per cent, reflecting the yen's gains, to close at 16,754.02.

The BOJ on Wednesday said it would seek to guide the 10-year JGB yield around zero per cent in an unprecedented move, but investors were left wondering exactly where and how the BOJ would be able to exert control on the bond yield.

Many market players think long-term bond yields are likely to fall if the BOJ continues the current pace of massive bond buying.

China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.28 per cent to 3,033.90, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.31 per cent to 23,686.48.

WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 14.98 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,296.73.


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