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Global markets ring in New Year with mixed fortunes

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Global stock markets faced a dip on Tuesday, reflecting a stumble in the recent global equity rally.

The surge in oil prices further intensified as tensions heightened in the Red Sea.

Despite the drop in stocks, investors are optimistic about 2024, anticipating more gains as central banks gear up for interest-rate cuts amid cooling inflation.

The record-breaking streak witnessed in New York, Frankfurt, Paris, and Tokyo during the last months of 2023 fueled this optimism, though some analysts caution against potential profit-taking following a parabolic advance.

Asian markets started the year with cautious sentiment. Hong Kong and Shanghai extended losses from the previous year. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s reassurance about the resilience and dynamism of the economy failed to significantly impact the markets.

Observers highlight the need for additional measures to instill confidence, especially in the property sector.

Japan, closed for a holiday, remains in focus after a significant earthquake. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reported extensive damage and numerous casualties. Despite the lifting of all tsunami warnings, investors are monitoring developments closely.

Oil prices initially surged over 2 percent due to supply concerns in the Red Sea, triggered by Iran’s deployment of a warship in response to the US Navy’s actions against Huthi boats. However, the rally reversed as attention shifted to money markets and yields.

Ongoing tensions in the Red Sea, marked by Yemeni rebel attacks on international ships, continue to impact maritime activities.

Bitcoin broke the $45,000 mark, reaching its highest point since April 2022. Optimism stems from expectations that the United States will allow broader trading of the cryptocurrency.

Analysts predict a promising year for the crypto industry, with anticipation of the approval of a spot bitcoin ETF.

Market Figures at a Glance (1630 GMT):

  • New York: Dow flat at 37,684.73 points, S&P 500 down 0.6% at 4,741.38, Nasdaq down 1.4% at 14,797.11.
  • European Markets: FTSE 100 down 0.2% at 7,721.52, CAC 40 down 0.2% at 7,530.86, DAX up 0.1% at 16,769.36, EURO STOXX 50 down 0.2% at 4,512.81.
  • Asian Markets: Hang Seng Index down 1.5% at 16,788.55, Shanghai Composite down 0.4% at 2,962.28.
  • Currency Markets: Dollar/yen up at 141.81 yen, Euro/dollar down at $1.0959, Pound/dollar down at $1.2622, Euro/pound up at 86.79 pence.
  • Oil Prices: WTI down 1.4% at $70.64 per barrel, Brent down 1.1% at $76.17 per barrel.

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