May 22, 2013
Wall St edges down after recent rally; retailers weigh
Wall Street slipped from last week's gains as retailers fell on concerns about heavy discounts at the start of the US holiday shopping season and the overhang of the "fiscal cliff" kept investors wary of making big bets.The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.31 points, or 0.33 percent, to 12,967.37. The S&P 500 dropped 2.86 points, or 0.20 percent, to 1,406.29. The Nasdaq Composite gained 9.93 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,976.78.
European shares edged lower while the euro hovered near a one-month peak against the dollar as investors awaited the outcome of talks to provide emergency loans to Greece.
Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund meet later to try to unfreeze the second bailout package for Greece, but first need to agree how to cut the country's massive debt pile to a more sustainable level.
But a weekend vote in the Spanish region of Catalonia, which favored parties who wanted a referendum on independence, and massive anti-austerity protests in Italy, were limiting market moves.
The euro was steady against the dollar at US$1.2975 near a four-week high of US$1.2991. Against the Japanese currency, the single currency hit a seven-month high above 107 yen in Asian trade before settling to be 106.50 yen.
In the equity markets, Europe's FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of top shares followed five-days of gains last week, made on expectations that a Greek agreement will be reached, by opening down 0.2 percent to 1,107.93 points.
London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 .FCHI and Frankfurt's DAX opened as much as 0.4 percent lower.
Earlier MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed up 0.2 percent at a two-week high.
Japan's Nikkei share average edged up to a 7-month closing high, led by exporters on expectations that a weaker yen will boost earnings.
Exporters moved higher but trimmed early gains on profit-taking as investors worried about the pace of recent gains in the Japanese market. Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and Canon Inc have risen 13-16 percent so far this month. The three managed to hold gains of 0.2-1.7 percent on Monday and were among the five most-traded stocks by turnover.
The Nikkei rose 0.2 percent to 9,388.94, its highest closing level since April 27. It rose as high as 9,487.94 in early trade.
The Nikkei has added 11 percent so far this year, putting its performance on a par with the US S&P 500's 12.05 percent rise and the pan-European STOXX Europe 600's 11.77 percent gain.