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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Stock markets end week down worldwide

Despite share reactions, second-quarter results mostly better than expected

Stock markets fell worldwide on Friday as results from some big US companies disappointed and tobacco shares dropped, while oil prices had their biggest weekly percentage rise this year.

Altria Group fell 9.5 per cent and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500, while US.-listed shares of British American Tobacco dropped 7 per cent, after the US food and drug administration said it aims to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes while exploring measures to shift smokers towards e-cigarettes.

"It's going to take some time to play out, but those names all moved" on the news, said Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Amazon's stock fell after the world's largest online retailer reported late Thursday a jump in retail sales along with a profit slump. Results from Exxon Mobil and Starbucks also disappointed.

Despite Friday's share reactions, second-quarter results have come in mostly better than expected, and stocks are trading near record highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33.76 points, or 0.15 percent, to close at 21,830.31, the S&P 500 lost 3.32 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,472.1 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 7.51 points, or 0.12 percent, to 6,374.68.

MSCI's 47-country All World share index was down 0.2 per cent, while the European STOXX 600 index was down 1 per cent.

Oil prices rose, extending this week's strong rally built on news that key Opec members pledged to reduce exports and bigger-than-expected US inventory drawdowns.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose US$1.03 to settle at $52.52 per barrel, while US crude futures CLc1 rose 67 cents to settle at $49.71.

For the week, US crude rose nearly 9 per rcent, its biggest weekly gain this year. The gains in Brent pushed the difference between the two benchmarks to the widest in two months.

"The bullish inventory report this week has helped confirm the declining trajectory of global inventories," said Sarp Ozkan, analyst at Drillinginfo.com. That, along with Saudi Arabia reducing exports, has "buoyed the expectations of continued inventory normalisation".

The US dollar was broadly lower as a combination of uninspiring US economic data and political uncertainty kept traders biased towards the euro and other world currencies.

US GDP growth picked up to 2.6 per cent in the second quarter, matching expectations of economists polled by Reuters.

The euro moved higher against the dollar, and was last up 0.7 percent at $1.1751. The Swiss franc fell for a fourth straight day and was set for its largest monthly drop in six years against the euro .

US Treasury yields fell. Other data showed that US labour costs increased less than expected in the second quarter. The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labour costs, increased 0.5. per cent in the April-June period.

Benchmark 10-year notes rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.29 pe rcent, down from 2.31 pecent on Thursday.

* Reuters