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22 Dec 2016 18:35 GMT+0 - Closing Wrap

In European Equity Markets stocks  edged lower on Thursday, falling further from their highest levels of the year, though Italian blue-chips outperformed as they shrugged off uncertainty over Monte Paschi's rescue plan. The STOXX 600 was down 0.2 percent, while Italy's blue-chip FTSE MIB rose 0.5 percent, and Italian banks rose 0.8 percent. Actelion rose as much as 8.2 percent after the Swiss biotech company has turned back to potential acquirer Johnson & Johnson for exclusive talks about a "strategic transaction", in an about-turn that appears to sideline rival suitor Sanofi. Nokia lost 4.3 percent after it said it had filed a number of lawsuits against Apple for violating technology patents.


In Currency Markets the dollar declined against a basket of currencies on Thursday, pulling further away from the 14-year high it set earlier this week as traders booked profits and brushed off mostly upbeat U.S. economic data.  The single currency hit a one-week high against the dollar, rebounding from a nearly 14-year low of $1.0350 set on Tuesday. It was last up 0.5 percent at $1.0480. The euro was up 0.4 percent at 123.03 yen and the dollar was down 0.1 percent at 117.40 yen. Sterling fell 0.21 percent to $1.2327, still close to Tuesday's one-month low of $1.2310. The Australian dollar was weaker, with Aussie down 0.11 percent at $0.7225, while Kiwi gained 0.28 percent to $0.6916.


In Commodities Markets  oil prices rose in quiet trading on Thursday, supported by strong U.S. economic data, a pause in the U.S. dollar rally and optimism that crude producers would abide by an agreement to limit output. Brent futures for February delivery rose by 75 cents to $55.21 per barrel, having finished 89 cents lower on Wednesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 62 cents to $53.11 a barrel. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,133.71 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,133.90 an ounce. Silver was up 0.3 percent to $15.98 an ounce. Platinum was down 0.4 percent at $910.90 and palladium fell for the seventh straight session, down 0.1 percent at $656.75.


In US Equity Markets  stocks were lower in light trading on Thursday as a fall in Apple's shares weighed. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.13 percent, at 19,915.19. The S&P 500 was down 0.22 percent, at 2,260.18 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.26 percent, at 5,457.06. Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer discretionary index's 0.40 percent fall leading the decliners.  Apple fell 0.8 percent after Nokia said it had filed a number of lawsuits against the iPhone maker for patent infringement. Micron Technology shares jumped 11.6 percent after the chipmaker's profit forecast beat expectations. Red Hat fell 12.2 percent after the Linux OS distributor's quarterly revenue fell below estimates.


In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday after data showed improving economic growth, and as investors prepared for new Treasury supply next week. Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 8/32 in price to yield 2.57 percent, up from 2.54 percent late Wednesday. Gross domestic product increased at a 3.5 percent annual rate instead of the previously reported 3.2 percent pace, the Commerce Department said in its third GDP estimate on Thursday.



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