Global shares mostly gain in thin trading ahead of New Year

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 26, 2016. Stock markets in Japan and China declined Monday in light trading after Christmas with most other Asian markets closed. AP/Koji Sasahara

Global shares mostly gain in thin trading ahead of New Year
Elaine Kurtenbach (Associated Press) - December 27, 2016 - 6:24pm

TOKYO  — 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.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX gained 0.2 percent to 11,473.42 and the CAC40 of France was also up 0.2 percent, 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 percent and S&P 500 futures also off 0.04 percent.

TOSHIBA'S TRIBULATION: Shares of electronics and energy giant Toshiba Corp. fell 13 percent 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, Inc. 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 DATA: Japan's unemployment rate was at a low 3.1 percent in November and the key measure of inflation, excluding volatile fresh foods, fell 0.4 percent from the year before, the ninth straight month of declines. Household spending fell 1.5 percent despite an increase in incomes.

ANALYST'S PERSPECTIVE: "We expect Japan's economy to grow by 1 percent 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.

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

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 117.23 yen from 117.18 yen on Monday. The euro fell to $1.0451 from $1.0453.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 34 cents to $53.36 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. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 13 cents $55.29 a barrel.

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