Arab Today, arab today european stocks fall before cyprus talks
Last Updated : GMT 09:22:01
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European stocks fall before Cyprus talks

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today European stocks fall before Cyprus talks

London - AFP

Europe\'s main stock markets fell on Friday in downbeat pre-weekend deals before the outcome of a major eurozone ministers meeting that seeks to agree a bailout for the Cyprus government, dealers said. Sentiment was also dented ahead of triple witching day, when stock index futures, index options and stock options all expire together. London\'s benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies slid 0.63 percent to 6,488.00 points in afternoon deals. Elsewhere, Frankfurt\'s DAX 30 index fell 0.46 percent to 8,021.18 points and in Paris the CAC 40 reversed 0.65 percent to 3,846.28 points. In foreign exchange activity, the euro firmed to $1.3062 from $1.3003 late on Thursday in New York. Gold prices increased to $1,593.25 an ounce on the London Bullion Market from $1,586. Eurozone veteran Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday that Eurogroup finance ministers meeting later in the day must agree on a bailout for the near-bankrupt Cyprus government. \"The Cyprus question should not just be brought closer to a solution -- it should be solved,\" Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker told reporters in the early hours at the close of a gathering of eurozone leaders held in the middle of a two-day European Union summit. Asked if he foresaw a deal being reached at the finance talks set for 1600 GMT, after an EU summit ends, the recently-departed Eurogroup chairman said: \"I can\'t imagine that we would let the weekend pass without having solved the Cyprus problem.\" European stocks had closed higher on Thursday on upbeat news that Ireland could become the first eurozone nation to emerge from its bailout programme, and following a decline of US jobless claims for a third straight week. \"Eurozone problems are back in focus -- even though the Cyprus bailout was not on the agenda, the issue is expected to be discussed on the second day of the EU summit,\" said Gekko Markets analyst Anita Paluch on Friday. She added: \"European stocks are struggling for direction as caution prevails ahead of the triple witching, when options and futures contracts will expire.\" US stocks fell in early trade Friday after a key consumer sentiment index sank and the Fed\'s review of bank capital plans raised questions about lending giants JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. At 1015 am (1415 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 59.25 points (0.41 percent) to 14,479.89. The broad-based S&P 500 lost 6.59 (0.42 percent) to 1,556.64, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 14.10 (0.43 percent) to 3,244.83. The University of Michigan Consumer index took a surprising dive to 71.8, its lowest level since the end of 2011 and down from 77.6 in February. Analysts had expected a gain. JPMorgan and Goldman shares both sank after the Federal Reserve on Thursday raised questions about their capital plans, ordering adjustments to \"address weaknesses\" if they want to proceed with dividend payouts and share buybacks as hoped. JPMorgan was also hit by the release of a damning US Senate report on the London Whale trades. Asian equity markets were mixed on Friday following another strong lead from Wall Street, where traders took heart from more upbeat US jobs numbers. The yen was flat meanwhile after Japanese lawmakers gave final approval to the government\'s nominees to take the helm at the Bank of Japan, with expectations high that it will usher in more aggressive monetary easing. Tokyo stocks rallied 1.45 percent to 12,560.95, its highest level since September 2008, while Sydney bounced back from three days of losses to register its biggest rise since July, adding 1.75 percent to close at 5,120.2. On the downside, Hong Kong finished 0.38 percent lower and Seoul fell 0.78 percent in value.

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