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Us stocks fall as rate worries offset good earnings

Wall Street stocks declined early Thursday amid jitters over the prospects for higher interest rates and despite a trove of largely solid corporate earnings.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 26,075.39, down 0.3 percent. The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.2 percent to 2,818.14, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3 percent to 7,386.49. Microsoft edged up 0.2 percent after reporting a 12 percent rise in quarterly revenues to $28.9 billion thanks to gains in business services and cloud computing. But one-time charges connected to US tax reform and the repatriation of overseas profits led to a $6.3 billion loss. Big tech will be in the headlines again with earnings reports from the other dominant forces in the sector, Apple, Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet, due after the market closes.

Shanghai shares set for worst weekly loss in nearly 2 years

China stocks extended losses on Friday as investors booked profits after recent sharp gains, with the Shanghai benchmark index and the start-up board poised for their worst weekly losses in nearly two years.

At 04:03 GMT, the Shanghai Composite index was down 14.16 points or 0.4 percent at 3,432.82. It was on track for a weekly loss of 3.5 percent. China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.2 percent, with the financial sector sub-index lower by 0.42 percent, the consumer staples sector down 1.76 percent, the real estate index up 0.67 percent and healthcare sub-index up 0.19 percent. The CSI300 has shed 3.2 percent this week.

European shares rise

Europe’s major stock markets advanced in opening trade on Thursday. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading blue-chip companies rose almost 0.2 percent to 7,544.53 points, compared with the closing level on Wednesday. Across in the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 added nearly 0.4 percent to 13,235.19 points and the Paris CAC 40 climbed 0.5 percent to 5,510.59 points.

Indian shares decline on budget woes

Indian shares tumbled on Friday as the long-term capital gains tax on equities investments dampened sentiment, while bonds slid for a second consecutive session on worries the central bank would become more hawkish on inflation.

The weak sentiment came a day after the government unveiled its budget for the year starting in April that raised spending for rural sectors and healthcare, widening the fiscal deficit target to 3.3 percent of gross domestic product from the previous 3.0 percent. Investors worried that higher spending and the government’s move to raise minimum support prices for crops could lead to higher retail prices at a time when consumer price inflation has already hit a 17-month high of 5.21 percent, well above the Reserve Bank of India’s target of 4 percent. That is leading to fears the RBI could adopt a more hawkish tone at its policy review on Feb. 6-7, although it is widely expected to keep rates on hold. The broader NSE index was down 1.2 percent at 10,874.30 as of 0538 GMT after slumping as much as 1.73 percent, the biggest percentage loss since Dec 18, 2017. The benchmark BSE index was 1.34 percent lower at 35,426.35, after falling as much as 1.65 percent.

Tokyo shares lower on us concerns

Tokyo stocks opened lower Friday on lingering worries over the US economy as Treasury yields hit multi-year highs, while investors were also cautious ahead of key US jobs data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.60 percent, or 141.53 points to 23,344.58 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.32 percent, or 5.97 points, at 1,864.47. Some dealers are taking to the sidelines ahead of the US jobs data due later Friday. The dollar traded at 109.41 yen in early Asian trade, slightly up from 109.39 yen in New York. On Thursday, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury hit at 2.789 percent, its highest level since April 2014. The high yield weighed on global markets as it stirred fears the US economy may slow down and that flows of cash may shift from stocks to the higher yielding bonds. Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower Thursday with the broad-based S&P 500 dipping 0.1 percent while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index falling 0.4 percent.

Sri Lankan shares climb for 3rd session as Janashakthi insurance jumps

Sri Lankan shares rose for a third straight session on Friday to their highest close in more than three weeks, boosted by a surge in Janashakthi Insurance Plc as it agreed to sell its general insurance unit to Germany’s Allianz SE. Janashakthi stock jumped about 28 percent in the session, bringing its weekly gain to a whopping 73 percent.The insurer said on Friday it agreed to sell its wholly owned subsidiary, Janashakthi General Insurance Ltd, for 16.4 billion rupees ($106.4 million) to Allianz.

The Colombo stock index ended up 0.34 percent at 6,520.46, its highest close since Jan. 9. The market rose 1 percent this week, its second straight weekly gain. Cargills (Ceylon) Plc rose 5.7 percent, while Nestle Lanka Plc ended 2.4 percent up, and Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose 0.9 percent. The market turnover was 1.22 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($7.9 million), more than last year’s daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

Hong Kong shares flat

Hong Kong shares ended the morning barely moved on Friday as investors pared early losses but they remain on edge over rising US borrowing rates. The Hang Seng Index inched down 1.97 points to 32,640.12.

Toronto shares open modestly higher

Canada’s main stock index opened marginally higher on Wednesday, with most sectors rising, led by technology and healthcare. Shortly after the opening bell, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 15.77 points, or 0.1 percent, at 15,971.28.

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