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Global shares mostly gain in thin trading ahead of New Year

Global shares

Shares are mostly higher in Europe and Asia as the last week of trading for the year began Tuesday after Christmas holidays. Most benchmarks stayed in a narrow range.

Germany’s DAX gained 0.2 per cent to 11,473.42 and the CAC40 of France was also up 0.2 per cent, at 4,847.39. Britain’s FTSE 100. Markets in Britain are closed for Boxing Day. Wall Street looked set for a downbeat open, with Dow futures down 0.04 per cent and S&P 500 futures also off 0.04 per cent.

Shares of electronics and energy giant Toshiba Corp. fell 13 per cent after the company announced it expects to record a loss of “several hundred billion yen” (several billion dollars) related to Westinghouse Electric Co.’s purchase of CB&I Stone & Webster. It said Westinghouse found costs for completing U.S. nuclear power projects will “far surpass” original estimates. Tokyo-based Toshiba also is enmeshed in an accounting scandal.

Japan’s unemployment rate was at a low 3.1 per cent in November and the key measure of inflation, excluding volatile fresh foods, fell 0.4 per cent from the year before, the ninth straight month of declines. Household spending fell 1.5 per cent despite an increase in incomes.

“We expect Japan’s economy to grow by 1 per cent next year. Given how low potential growth is, this should be enough to drive a further decline in spare capacity and to add to price pressures. The Bank of Japan is therefore unlikely to introduce further easing. But we nonetheless forecast further weakness in the yen and resulting gains for the Nikkei,” Marcel Thieliant and Mark Williams of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was nearly flat at 19,403.06 and the Kospi of South Korea rose 0.2 per cent to 2,042.17. India’s Sensex added 0.8 per cent to 26,009.86. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.3 per cent to 3,114.66. Shares gained in Southeast Asia. Markets in Hong Kong and Australia were closed for Boxing Day.

The dollar rose to 117.23 yen from 117.18 yen on Monday. The euro fell to $1.0451 (£0.85) from $1.0453 (£0.85).

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 34 cents to $53.36 (£43.58) a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil markets were closed Monday for the holiday. On Friday, benchmark U.S. crude gained 7 cents to close at $53.02 (£43.30). Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 13 cents $55.29 (£45.15) a barrel.

Paul

The author Paul