European shares traded in narrow ranges Friday as the momentum generated by the Dow Jones’ breach of the 20,000 mark for the first time faded and following news the U.S. economy lost momentum in the final three months of 2016.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France’s CAC 40 dropped 0.4 percent to 4,846 while Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 percent to 11,825. Britain’s FTSE 100 was 0.1 percent higher at 7,171. Wall Street was poised for a flat opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 unchanged.
TRUMP: Investors remain focused on the latest moves by U.S. President Donald Trump. His spokesman said the administration was considering slapping a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to help pay for his promised border wall, in an announcement that left markets uncertain about what it means for trade. Trump’s joint press conference with visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May scheduled for later Friday could also provide trading catalysts, especially for the pound.
QUOTEWORTHY: “Despite the divisive nature of Trumps policies, markets have come to the realization that money talks, and with many of his other policies coming to fruition, it seems a fiscal spending package is just around the corner,” said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG.
U.S. DATA: The Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.9 percent in the October-December period, a slowdown from 3.5 percent growth in the third quarter. For 2016, the economy grew 1.6 percent. It was the worst showing since 2011 and down from 2.6 percent growth in 2015. Trump has set a goal of doubling growth through an ambitious stimulus program featuring tax cuts, deregulation and higher infrastructure spending.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.3 percent to close at 19,467.40, helped by the dollar’s surge against the Japanese yen, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1 percent to 23,360.78. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.8 percent to 5,714.00. India’s Sensex gained 0.7 percent to 27,902.55.
LUNAR NEW YEAR: Markets in China, South Korea and Taiwan were closed while Malaysia was open only for the morning session. Many Asian countries have begun holidays of varying lengths, curtailing trading across much of the region. Mainland China will take the longest break, shutting down for an entire week.
CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.0695 while the dollar rose 0.6 percent to 115.15 yen.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped 29 cents to $53.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 41 cents to $56.08 a barrel in London.