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James Hyerczyk
Global Stock Indexes

The major European stock indexes are trading mixed on Friday with investors not showing the same enthusiasm for equities as their U.S. counterparts. Although global market sentiment is much better today than it was a week ago, today’s price action suggests investors may be concerned about valuations as they shift their trading style from momentum to value.

At 13:37 GMT, the UK’s FTSE is trading 7589.85, down 8.61 or -0.11%. Germany’s DAX is at 13521.62, up 26.56 or +0.20 and France’s CAC is trading 6040.29, down 2.26 or -0.04%.

In general news, despite today’s mixed performance, the markets are still being underpinned by a dampening of concerns over U.S.-Iran relations.

Optimism over U.S.-China trade relations as well as domestic news may move back to the forefront if the United States and Iran can set aside their differences long enough to begin some kind of peace process.

Speaking of U.S.-China trade relations, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is due to sign an initial “Phase One” trade deal with the U.S. next week. Liu will visit Washington on January 13-15, Beijing said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, back in Europe, U.K. lawmakers approved legislation that will allow the country to exit the EU on January 31 with a withdrawal deal. Meanwhile in France, the government has stood its ground on proposed pension reforms despite protests from tens of thousands of demonstrators across the country.

Asian Shares Finish Mostly Higher

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes finished higher on Friday with China suffering the lone setback.

Shares of Apple suppliers led the technology sectors higher. Supplier stocks rose sharply after Apple shares jumped 2.1% to a record high. That was on the back of news that iPhone sales in China rose more than 18% in December, according to Chinese government data.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index settled at 6929.00, up 54.80 or +0.80%, despite concerns over the bushfires that continue to take a toll on the country. Australian insurer Suncorp said its bushfire-related claims since September have hit 345 million Australian Dollars ($237 million), Reuters reported. Shares of the insurer closed up 0.61%.

In economic news, Australia’s retail sales data for November beat expectations, jumping 0.9%, the largest increase since last February, according to a Reuters report. A Reuters poll had forecast a 0.4% gain.

Gold-related shares in Australia remained under pressure due to a drop in demand related to the declining risk of an escalating conflict between the United States and Iran.

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