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23 Dec 2016 18:26 GMT+0 - Closing Wrap

In European Equity Markets stocks were steady on Friday with the focus on lenders after Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse settled mortgage securities fraud suits in the United States, and Italy's Monte dei Paschi agreed to a bailout. The STOXX Europe 600 was flat at its close and unchanged for the week, but the index still on track for its best month since October 2015. Deutsche Bank trimmed early gains to end 0.3 percent higher after it agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) over its sale of toxic mortgage securities before the 2008 financial crisis. Dutch insurer NN Group rose 3.7 percent after it reached an agreement to buy Delta Lloyd. NN had nudged up its unsolicited offer by 1.9 percent to 2.5 billion euros.


In Currency Markets the dollar held steady on Friday, lingering about half a percent below a 14-year peak set earlier this week, as traders moved to the sidelines ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend. With Japan markets closed for a holiday, the yen edged up 0.1 percent against the euro and the dollar at 122.47 yen and 117.38 yen, respectively. The euro was up 0.13 percent at $1.0450, while sterling lost 0.15 percent to seven-week lows of $1.2267. The Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with Aussie down 0.76 percent at $0.7163 and with Kiwi falling 0.58 percent to $0.6865.  The dollar index was marginally firmer at 103.14, recovering from an earlier low of 102.89.


In Commodities Markets  oil edged lower on Friday ahead of the Christmas and New Year holiday week as the market waited to see how OPEC would manage its planned output cuts with Libya expecting to boost production. Brent futures for February delivery were down 0.3 percent, at $54.89 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.4 percent, to $52.73 per barrel. Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,131.66 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were up $2.60 an ounce at $1,133.30. Silver was down 0.4 percent at $15.71, while platinum was 0.1 percent lower at $901.40 an ounce and palladium was down 0.3 percent at $652.75.


In US Equity Markets stocks were lower in afternoon trading on Friday as investors held back from making big bets ahead of the holiday season, but the three major indexes were still on track to post weekly gains. The Dow Jones industrial average  was down 0.04 percent, at 19,911.49. The S&P 500 was down 0.22 points at 2,260.74 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.41 points at 5,450.83.  Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, although losses were modest. The consumer discretionary index's 0.22 percent fall lead the decliners. Fred's rose 3.9 percent after Alden Global Capital reported a stake of 24.8 percent in the discount store operator. Cintas fell 3.6 percent after the uniforms supplier cut the lower end of its revenue forecast.


In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury prices were firmer on Friday in thin volumes as investors prepared for the three-day Christmas holiday weekend. Benchmark 10-year notes gained 4/32 in price to yield 2.54 percent, down from 2.55 percent late on Thursday. U.S. two-year Treasury yield was 1.197 percent, little changed on the day. Italian 10-year yields declined five basis points to 1.80 percent, while German bund yields slid three basis points to 0.22 percent.




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