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World stocks lower as investors assess outlook, take profits

Stock markets around the world fell modestly Friday as investors booked some of the profits made this week. The main factors behind this week’s broad-based ascent were relief that the U.S. Federal Reserve didn’t raise interest rates and a modest easing in policy from the Bank of Japan.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares fell 0.2 percent to 6,895 while the CAC-40 in France fell 0.6 percent to 4,482. Germany’s DAX was 0.3 percent lower at 10,641. U.S. stocks were poised for modest losses at the open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.2 percent.

GLOBAL OUTLOOK: The trading week was dominated by the policy decisions of the Fed and the Bank of Japan. Both decided to keep key interest rates at super-low levels. Low interest rates have been the main backdrop to the multi-year stock market boom.

ANALYST TAKE: “Stock markets around the globe reacted positively to both events, and the recent fears that the summer rally was over have been somewhat allayed,” said David Cheetham, market analyst at XTB.

EUROPE WEAKNESS: Soft economic data out of the 19-country eurozone reinforced speculation that the European Central Bank will enact a further monetary stimulus later this year. According to financial information company IHS Markit, economic growth across the eurozone has fallen to a 20-month low as the German economy, in particular, loses momentum.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3 percent to end at 16,754.02 while South Korea’s Kospi crept up 0.2 percent to 2,054.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.3 percent to 23,686.49 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China dipped 0.3 percent to 3,033.90. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent to 5,431.30.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude oil futures fell 18 cents to $45.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 17 cents to $48.38 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.1216 while the dollar fell 0.1 percent to 100.78 yen.


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