International markets roundup

NEW YORK: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has barely reached a seventh straight record high and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have also closed at a record as gains in Kraft Heinz helped offset selling in energy stocks.

After suffering losses for most of the session, the Dow and S&P 500 turned positive in the final minutes of a week fueled by the "Trump Rally" that has seen stocks surge since the November presidential election.

"Corporate earnings are fine, the economy's fine, the Fed's going to raise rates, and that's great for financials," said John Canally, chief economic strategist for LPL Financial.

Kraft Heinz jumped 10.74 per cent after it said it would continue to pursue a $143 billion bid for Unilever , despite being rebuffed. Unilever's US-listed shares surged 14.00 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.02 per cent to 20,624.05, the S&P 500 gained 0.17 per cent to 2,351.16 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.41 per cent to 5,838.58.

US markets will be closed on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.

LONDON: European shares posted their second week of gains on Friday with personal and household goods stocks led by a leap in Unilever's shares after a takeover bid, though banking and resources stocks saw a pull-back.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat in per centage terms at its close, but ended near a 13-month high reached on Wednesday.

The rally has been fuelled by strong earnings updates, a pick-up in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, with cyclical stocks such as miners and banks lifted by solid economic data.

US food company Kraft Heinz Co offered $US143 billion for household goods firm Unilever. Unilever rejected the $US50 per share offer, saying that it was too low.

Unilever's London-listed shares jumped 13.4 per cent, hitting a record high and posting their best day in 30 years, and the broader household and personal goods sector rose 2.8 per cent to a new high.

London's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 per cent to 7,299.96.

Banks and commodities-related stocks, however, weighed, with Europe's STOXX bank index down 0.9 per cent as investors booked profits for a second day after the index hit a three-week high on Wednesday, helped by growing expectations of an imminent US rate rise.

Germany's DAX was essentially flat at 11,757.02.

TOKYO: MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pulled back 0.2 per cent, Tokyo stocks closed down 0.58 per cent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.31 per cent to 24,033.74 as investors locked in profits after closed at an 18-month high the previous session.

China's main stock indexes fell as investors retreated from brokerage and newly-listed stocks after a recent rally, erasing most of the gains made earlier this week.

The blue-chip CSI300 index dropped 0.6 per cent to 3,421.44 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.85 per cent to 3,202.08.

WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 6.46 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 7,093.52.

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