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US STOCKS END LOWER

Wall Street fell on Friday, whipsawed by developments with a probe into Russia’s alleged involvement in the US election as well as with progress on a tax bill in Congress.

Major indexes ended lower after an ABC News report that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that before taking office President Donald Trump had directed him to make contact with Russians.

The benchmark S&P 500 was down as much as 1.6 percent following the report. Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia’s ambassador. But stocks recouped the bulk of their initial losses, after US Senate Republicans said they had enough support to pass a sweeping tax overhaul.

The Senate news was the latest sign of progress for a tax bill being closely watched by investors, with hopes that significant corporate tax cuts will further fuel Wall Street’s record-setting rally. “This Flynn thing threw everything for a loop. We had that still against the backdrop of tax reform,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 40.76 points, or 0.17 percent, to 24,231.59, the S&P 500 lost 5.36 points, or 0.20 percent, to 2,642.22 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 26.39 points, or 0.38 percent, to 6,847.59.

MSCI REBALANCING, BOND FLOAT SPARK INTEREST IN KSE BLUE CHIPS

A semi-annual rebalancing by the global index provider MSCI and Pakistan’s successful foray into the international bond market to shore up foreign currency reserves brought a brief respite from intermittent losing streaks at the stock market.

Amid bullish sentiments, a rarity under the current political and economic scenario, local institutional investors heavily bought undervalued blue chips at attractive prices, which reflected their confidence in the market.

At close on Thursday, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index registered an increase of 337.47 points or 0.85 percent to settle at 40,010.36. Local institutions took the opportunity to buy stocks at attractive prices. Volumes improved to 181 million shares. TRG Pakistan (+2.54 percent) led the volumes with trading in more than 23 million shares. Overall, trading volumes rose to 180.7 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 114 million. Shares of 353 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 189 stocks closed higher, 143 declined while 21 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs16.01 billion.

EUROZONE SHARES SLIDE

Eurozone markets slipped on Thursday as investors were torn between Wall Street euphoria over renewed optimism that US tax cuts will clear a key legislative hurdle and concerns awaiting OPEC’s next move.

Oil prices were mixed ahead of the decision from a meeting in Vienna of 24 producing nations on crude output levels.

However, Bitcoin traded at $9,309.25 according to the source — well down on a record $11,434 reached Wednesday. The pound extended its climb against the dollar following reports British and European Union negotiators were close to a divorce settlement deal over Brexit. That didn’t help London’s benchmark FTSE 100 equities index, which closed down 0.9 percent. A strengthening euro affected main eurozone markets with Frankfurt’s DAX 30 sliding 0.29 percent while the Paris CAC 40 dropped 0.47 percent.

SRI LANKA STOCKS HIGHER AT END OF TRADE; CSE ALL-SHARE UP 0.10 PERCENT

Sri Lanka stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Land & Property, Plantations and Power & Energy sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share rose 0.10 percent. The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were Nation Lanka Finance PLC, which rose 20.00 percent or 0.200 points to trade at 1.200 at the close. Meanwhile, Ceylon Printers PLC added 19.30 percent or 13.70 points to end at 84.70 and Harischandra Mills PLC was up 17.78 percent or 240.00 points to 1590.00 in late trade. The worst performers of the session were Kotmale Holdings PLC, which fell 9.40 percent or 17.90 points to trade at 172.50 at the close. Tess Agro PLC declined 8.33 percent or 0.100 points to end at 1.100 and Capital Alliance Finance PLC was down 6.80 percent or 1.70 points to 23.30. Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 0 to 0. Crude oil for January delivery was up 0.70 percent or 0.40 to $57.80 a barrel.

TOKYO SHARES CLOSE HIGHER ON WEAKER YEN

Tokyo stocks ended higher on Thursday as a weak yen boosted Japanese exporters and the operator of the Tokyo Disneyland complex surged on a report it was expanding its attractions.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.57 percent, or 127.76 points, to close at 22,724.96, while the broader Topix index rose 0.33 percent, or 5.93 points, to 1,792.08. The Nikkei index has reached the 22,000 yen level but I think Japanese shares are still undervalued.

The dollar fetched 112.10 yen in Asian trade, up from 111.97 in New York and much stronger than the 111.54 yen seen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday. A weaker yen is a positive for Japanese exporters as it makes their products more competitive abroad and inflates their repatriated profits. In Tokyo share trading, Uniqlo chain operator Fast Retailing jumped 2.86 percent to 43,510 yen while Honda was up 0.61 percent at 3,744 yen.

ASIA EXCHANGES MIXED AFTER US RECORDS, BITCOIN BREAKS $10,000

Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday following fresh records on Wall Street as Donald Trump’s tax-cut plans moved a step closer, while the pound extended gains on reports of a breakthrough in Brexit talks.

Traders brushed off early worries caused by another North Korean missile test, while Bitcoin continued its surge to break the $10,000 mark for the first time. New York traders cheered a forecast-beating US consumer confidence survey and news that a key senate committee agreed to a fiscal overhaul plan late Tuesday, fuelling a rally to new all-time highs on the city’s three main indexes.

Singapore shares rose on Friday as lenders climbed, while the Philippine market dropped to its lowest in two months when trading resumed after a holiday.

Philippine stocks slumped 0.7 percent and were on track for a fourth straight session of declines and a weekly loss of more than 2 percent.

Philippine shares are among the top gainers in Southeast Asia so far this year, rising nearly 20 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares outside Japan inched up 0.1 percent.

Thai shares were 0.1 percent higher, with the country’s annual consumer inflation rate rising in November, as expected.

Singapore stocks rose as much as 0.8 percent to a fresh two-and-a-half-year high, lifted by financials and industrials stocks.

Malaysian and Indonesian markets were closed on account Of national holidays.

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