Profit-Taking Hits Global Stocks

Trading in equities around the globe was largely mixed on Friday in what appeared to be profit-taking moves following recent equity gains. However, the issue of uncertainty over an interest rate hike timetable by the U.S. Federal Reserve also appeared to weigh on world stocks.

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How Asian stocks performed

Stocks in Japan rose on Friday, with shares in the country’s Shipbuilding, Insurance and Mining sectors leading the gains. The Nikkei 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) advanced 0.36% at close.

A weaker yen also seem to have helped Tokyo stocks up by boosting foreign interest. The USDJPY gained 0.20% to 100.09, while EURJPY jumped 0.11% to 113.53.

In Taiwan, the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.97%, led lower by falling stocks in the country’s Oil, Gas & Electricity and Other sectors.

Trading in Chinese stocks was mixed, as the Shanghai Composite gained 0.13% while the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) retreated 0.37%.

China this week moved to approve the Shenzhen-Hong Kong trading link. It is widely expected that the trading link will launch later this year, thus easing trade between Shenzhen and Honk Kong.

Australian stocks

In Australia, stocks closed higher with the S&P/ASX 200 advancing 0.31%. The index was led higher by rising stocks in Utilities, Telecoms Services and Metals & Mining sectors.

A weaker Aussie currency also appeared to have played a role in supporting gains in Australian stocks. The AUDUSD was retreated 0.57% to 0.7642.

European stocks

In Europe, stocks opened largely lower with the Euro Stoxx 50 seen sliding 0.97% in morning trading. Germany’s DAX 30 was down about 0.82% and France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.96%.

Stocks in Europe appeared to be rattled by uncertainty over U.S. interest rates. Markets in the region edged up after minutes of the Fed’s July meeting showed that monetary policymakers are divided on the timing of the next rate hike. But a comment on Thursday by John Williams, the president of San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, seemed to be weighing down stocks in Europe. Mr. Williams supports a near-term rake increase, at least in word, claiming that waiting too long to raise the rates would hurt the U.S. economy.

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