December 21, 2014
Wall Street ends flat, as European shares end up
US stocks ended little changed today, giving up most of the day's gains after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that monetary policy will not be enough to offset damage from the "fiscal cliff."
The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 2.99 points, or 0.02 percent, at 13,245.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added just 0.64 of a point, or 0.05 percent, to finish at 1,428.48. But the Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 8.49 points, or 0.28 percent, to finish at 3,013.81.
Peripheral euro zone indexes helped European shares edge up, steadying after three weeks of gains but retaining the potential to rise more in the short term as macroeconomic risks fade.
The FTSEurofirst 300 closed up 0.80 points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,139.65, although volumes were low at just 77 percent of their already weak 90-day daily average. Spain's IBEX , up 0.6 percent, and Italy's FTSE MIB, up 1.2 percent, led regional gainers.In Asia, Japan's Nikkei average climbed to its highest closing level in nearly eight months today, led by exporters as persistent speculation that a likely new government would pressure the central bank to take bolder policy weighed on the yen.
The Nikkei advanced 0.6 percent to 9,581.46, taking the index back to 'overbought' territory, with the 14-day relative strength index at 70.9. Seventy or above is considered overbought and often indicates a possible near-term pull back.
The broader Topix index ended 0.7 percent higher at 791.29 in relatively active trade, with 1.94 billion shares changing hands, up from Tuesday's 1.54 billion and last week's average of 1.91 billion.