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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW YORK/LONDON — World stock markets were lower Monday, taking their lead from softer prices on Wall Street, as investors wound down and took profits at the end of year.
At the close of trade in Europe, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.8 percent compared with Friday.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.7 percent and the Paris CAC 40 lost 0.9 percent.
On the other side of the Atlantic, New York's the Dow – which ended last week on a fresh record high – was showing a mid-session loss of 0.6 percent.
Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei stocks index closed down 0.8 percent as investors cashed in ahead of the New Year holidays, but the final day of trading still saw the benchmark end up 18.2 percent from a year earlier.
"Investors appear to be growing a tad apprehensive about chasing the record-setting US equity market... into year-end," said Axitrader market strategist, Stephen Innes.
Analysts described trading as "light" but said that "expectations remain in place for US stocks to continue march higher" at the start of 2020.
The US Federal Reserve "has clearly signalled they will not be tightening anytime soon, the US consumer continues to impress, and as fears of both a complete collapse with global trade talks and Brexit have abated," they said.
Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare similarly believed that the declines seen on Monday would not undo the strong rally of recent weeks.
These past few weeks were "a terrific turn in a terrific quarter (+8.8 percent) that is ending a terrific year," he said.
Analysts attribute the successive series of US records to upbeat investor sentiment based on a lower risk of recession in the immediate future, a mellowing of US-China trade tensions, and accommodative monetary policy.
In Asia, investors will be watching for key policy announcements in the region later this week.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to give his New Year's speech on Wednesday, with all eyes on nuclear-armed Pyongyang's threat of a "new way" after its end-of-year deadline for sanctions relief from the US, analysts said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is also scheduled to give a New Year's address.
Asian markets were mixed Monday with activity thinning as investors wind down for the end of the year, with lingering optimism over easing US-China trade tensions driving some gains.
Stocks took their lead from a mixed finish to a quiet week on US trading floors Friday after the Dow edged to a fresh record but the Nasdaq retreated after 10 straight all-time highs.
Hong Kong finished 0.3 percent up while Shanghai was more than one percent higher.
Tokyo's Nikkei lost 0.8 percent as investors cashed in ahead of the New Year holidays, but the final day of trading still saw the benchmark end 18.2 percent up from a year earlier.
Sydney, Jakarta and Manila were also down.
"Investors appear to be growing a tad apprehensive about chasing the record setting US equity market risk-reward premise into year-end," Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at Axitrader said in a note.
Analysts have attributed the latest run of US records to upbeat investor sentiment based on a lower risk of recession in the immediate future, a mellowing of US-China trade tensions, and accommodative monetary policy.
Stocks have followed a nearly unbroken line upward since early October, drifting higher much of last week in the quiet period between the Christmas and New Year holidays.
"The overall picture is one of book squaring and profit-taking in Asia with investors preferring to wait until next week before loading up on the first trades of a new decade," Jeffrey Halley, senior Asia Pacific market analyst at OANDA said in a note.
Investors will also be watching for key policy announcements in the region this week.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is to give his set-piece New Year's speech on Wednesday, with all eyes on nuclear-armed Pyongyang's threat of a "new way" after its end-of-year deadline for sanctions relief from the US.
China's Xi Jinping is also scheduled to give a New Year's address, while traders will also be watching for the Tuesday release of China's official manufacturing PMI data.
Elsewhere Monday, oil prices edged higher on continued demand, mainly sidestepping comments from OPEC on Friday that the cartel would discuss ending production curbs next year.
The commodity was also boosted by news that American crude supplies fell by 5.47 million barrels through the week ending Dec. 20, more than three times the median estimate in a survey carried out by Bloomberg. — AFP
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