World stocks flat as soft US data blamed on weather; dlr down
World stock markets were nearly flat as soft US economic data was blamed on bad weather, while the dollar fell to a two-week low against the euro. US stocks rose, with big gains in technology stocks, putting the Nasdaq on track for a sixth straight session of gains, its longest winning streak since December 2011.
The eastern United States was in the grip of another deadly winter storm that began late Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 67.88 points, or 0.43 percent, to 16,031.82; the S&P 500 gained 9.69 points, or 0.53 percent, to 1,828.95; and the Nasdaq Composite added 32.513 points, or 0.77 percent, to 4,233.801.
Comcast Corp <CMCSA.O said it would buy Time Warner Cable Inc for $45.2 billion in an all-stock deal that combines the two largest US cable operators. Time Warner Cable shares rose 7.1 percent to $144.94 while Comcast shed 3.8 percent to $53.13. Shares of Charter Communications Inc, which had also pursued Time Warner Cable, fell 6.1 percent to $129.12.
The broad MSCI All-Country World Index was up 0.2 percent, reversing earlier losses, while MSCI's index of emerging market stocks was down 0.8 percent.
In Europe, shares dipped as losses in Italy weighed on the market due to political uncertainty there that raised worries about efforts to turn around Italy's sputtering economy.
European stocks snapped a week-long winning streak, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ending down 0.1 percent.
The Nikkei ended 1.8 percent or 265.32 points lower
at 14,534.74, marking its biggest daily percentage drop in a
In the foreign exchange market, the dollar fell to a two-week low against the euro and slid against other major currencies, after the day's US economic data.
US bond prices rose following two days of losses. The euro rallied against the dollar, to $1.3694, its strongest level since Jan. 27, before trimming gains to trade 0.55 percent higher on the day, at $1.3681.
Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were up 9/32 in price to yield 2.73 percent. On Wall Street, a disappointing outlook from Cisco Systems limited gains. Cisco shares fell 3.7 percent to $22.01.
Oil prices ended the session lower, though Brent's losses were limited by a report from the International Energy Agency that developed world inventories fell by 137 million barrels at the end of last year, for the steepest quarterly decline since 1999. Brent crude oil futures fell 6 cents to settle at $108.73 a barrel while US crude oil dipped 2 cents to settle at $100.35.
In the precious metals market, gold rose to a three-month high, targeting a break above $1,300 after the disappointing US retail sales data weighed on the dollar. Spot gold was last up 0.5 percent at $1,296.69 an ounce. It rose to $1,299.50, its highest since Nov. 8 earlier.