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US stocks quiet on last trading day of a strong year

There were no fireworks on Wall Street for the last trading day of the year, as US stocks closed out their best year since 2013 on a down note, with losses in technology and financial stocks keeping equities in negative territory for the session.

Major indexes hit a series of record highs in 2017, lifted by a combination of strong economic growth, solid corporate earnings, low interest rates and hopes for a tax cut from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

The benchmark S&P 500 surged 19.5 percent this year, the blue-chip Dow 25.2 percent and Nasdaq 28.2 percent, as each of the major Wall Street indexes scored the best yearly performance since 2013.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 118.29 points, or 0.48 percent, on Friday to close at 24,719.22, the S&P 500 lost 13.93 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,673.61 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 46.77 points, or 0.67 percent, to 6,903.39.

The market has also remained resilient in the face of tensions in North Korea and political turmoil in Washington. The S&P 500 only saw four sessions all year with a decline of more than 1 percent while the CBOE Volatility index topped out at 15.96 on a closing basis, well below its long-term average of 20.

The rally is widely expected to extend into 2018, boosted by gains from a new law that lowers the tax burden on US corporations.

For the week, the Dow lost 0.13 percent, the S&P 500 shed 0.36 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.81 percent.

Pakistan stocks ends 2017 on positive note

Continuing its streak for a seventh straight session, the Pakistan Stock Exchange ended the last session of the year on a positive note.

The KSE-100 witnessed a mixed ride as it soared to make an intra-day high of 270 points in the first half, but later dropped 90 points due to profit-taking.

Despite the decline, the index still finished in the green. At the end of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index registered an increase of 100.17 points or 0.25 percent to settle at 40,471.48.

Overall, trading volumes increased to 240 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 239 million. Shares of 365 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 173 stocks closed higher, 178 declined while 14 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs9.4 billion. PTCL was the volume leader with 25.4 million shares, gaining Rs0.75 to close at Rs13.05.

London stocks end year on record high

London’s FTSE 100 ended 2017 on a new record high on Friday, on a shortened final day of trading before the New Year break.

The benchmark index of blue-chip shares was boosted once again by strong mining stocks, during early trade, up 0.9 percent at a new closing high of 7,687.77 points, having earlier reached a new intraday record of 7,697.62. Despite economic headwinds and Brexit-related uncertainties in 2017, the FTSE added 7.6 percent over the year, with more records set to be broken in 2018. The FTSE 100 could launch a concerted attack on the 8,000 mark for the first time in 2018. Tokyo closed 0.1 percent down, with tech titan SoftBank reversing early gains to end 0.1 percent off after announcing a deal to take a huge stake in US ride-sharing giant Uber.

Tokyo’s Nikkei index recovers

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index ended Friday fractionally lower but finished the year at a quarter-century high thanks to record rallies on Wall Street and brisk results from Japan Inc.

The bellwether index surged 19.1 percent from a year earlier to 22,764.94, the sixth straight annual gain, rising to levels last seen in 1992. The broader Topix index was up 19.7 percent in 2017 to 1,817.56.

Hong Kong stocks end strong year on upbeat note

Hong Kong stocks ended on a healthy note Friday, bringing a positive end to a stellar year for the Hang Seng Index, which tracked a strong performance across global markets. The HSI added 0.19 percent, or 55.44 points, to close at 29,919.15. It put on 36 percent over the year. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.33 percent, or 10.79 points, to 3,307.17 — rising 6.6 percent over the year. And the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, jumped 0.64 percent, or 12.00 points, to 1,899.34 on turnover of 195.5 billion yuan. But it lost 3.5 percent over the past 12 months.

Chile’s peso, stocks head for new highs

Chilean stocks and currency are poised to reach new heights in 2018, bolstered by the victory of conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera in the country’s presidential election this month and a sharp spike in copper prices. Chile’s IPSA stock index has gained almost 34 percent so far this year and is on track to post its best performance since 2010. The peso has risen 6.5 percent from a low point the week before the Dec. 17 election, bidding at 614 pesos per dollar and settling at its strongest level in 2-1/2 years.

TSX slips, but heading for 6 pct gain in 2017

Canada’s main stock index fell early on the last trading day of 2017 as some energy and mining stocks pulled back, but was on track for a nearly 6 percent gain for the year.

At 9:51 a.m. EST (1451 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 44.51 points, or 0.27 percent, at 16,177.44, with nine of its 10 main sectors in negative territory. Marijuana stocks helped push the healthcare group higher, with Canopy Growth Corp up 4.6 percent to C$31.82 and Aphria Inc up 4.3 percent to C$18.78. Canada is moving towards the full legalization of cannabis in 2018.

Sri Lanka stocks higher

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

At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share gained 0.08 percent. The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were Union Chemicals Lanka PLC, which rose 24.97 percent or 99.90 points to trade at 500.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Equity Two PLC added 17.80 percent or 8.90 points to end at 58.90 and SMB Leasing PLC was up 16.67 percent or 0.1000 points to 0.7000 in late trade. The worst performers of the session were Paragon Ceylon PLC, which fell 19.35 percent or 12.00 points to trade at 50.00 at the close. Nanda Investments and Finance PLC declined 13.26 percent or 3.70 points to end at 24.20 and Hemas Power PLC was down 10.40 percent or 2.10 points to 18.10. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 97 to 68 and 52 ended unchanged.

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