European shares up after mixed session in Asia as week ends with solid gains


European shares opened higher Friday after a day of mixed trading in Asia, as most major markets looked set to end the week with solid gains.

Germany's DAX added 0.8% to 15,910.47 and the CAC 40 in Paris was 0.9% higher at 7,227.97. Britain's FTSE 100 surged 0.9% to 7,473.41. The futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both edged 0.2% higher.

British retail sales volumes saw an unexpected decline in October, falling 0.3% from the month before according to data released Friday.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong's Hang Seng sank 2.1%, to 17,454.19, dragged lower by a 9.8% slump in shares of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba following its cancellation of a plan to spin off its cloud computing unit. The company cited uncertainties due to U.S. chip restrictions. Alibaba shares dropped as much as 10% in New York on Thursday.

The Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher to 3,054.37.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.5% to 33,585.20 after Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda indicated, in comments to parliament, that the central bank has no immediate plans to change its ultra-lax monetary policy, which has kept the benchmark interest rate at minus 0.1% for years.

The gap between Japan's negative interest rate and the U.S. benchmark rate of over 5.25% has pushed the value of the U.S. dollar much higher against the Japanese yen, complicating planning for corporations and raising costs for imports. But Ueda said the weak yen has both positives and negatives.

On Friday, the U.S. dollar was trading at 149.59 Japanese yen, down from 150.73 yen. The euro rose to $1.0855 from $1.0853.

In South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.7% to 2,469.85. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1% to 7,049.40. Taiwan's Taiex gained 0.2% and the Sensex in Mumbai dropped 0.2%.

Wall Street's stocks drifted to a mixed finish Thursday as market momentum slowed following the sizzling rally of the first half of November.

The S&P 500 edged up by 0.1% and was comfortably on track for a third straight winning week. The Dow industrials slipped 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.1%.

November is on track to be the S&P 500's best month in a year on rising hopes for a "Goldilocks" economy that's just right for markets.

Several reports indicated the U.S. economy is slowing. Slightly more workers applied for unemployment benefits last week. The number is low relative to history, but a softening in the job market could prevent strong raises in wages that the Fed fears could help keep inflation high.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.39% early Friday from 4.54% on Wednesday. Just last month, it was above 5% at its highest level since 2007 and raising worries on Wall Street as it undercut prices for stocks and other investments.

A barrel of benchmark U.S. crude for delivery in December was up 2 cents at $72.92. On Thursday, it tumbled $3.76 to settle at $72.90. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 23 cents to $77.65 per barrel.

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