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Stocks hold onto gains as 2019 closes out

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 30, 2019 - Duration: 02:13s

Stocks hold onto gains as 2019 closes out

As bourses around the world began closing out 2019 on Monday, most clung to recent gains on hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal, a more optimistic growth outlook and a softer dollar.

David Pollard reports.

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Stocks hold onto gains as 2019 closes out

Ringing out the year on the Tokyo stock exchange.

On the last trading day of 2019, time to celebrate an 18% gain over the last 12 months.

That compares to a near 13% loss last year, and comes despite so many reasons why not.

Akira Kiyota is the bourse's CEO.

SOUNDBITE (Japanese) CEO OF JAPAN STOCK EXCHANGE, AKIRA KIYOTA, SAYING: "We saw the ongoing US-China trade war, the turmoil in the Middle East situation, the erratic progress of Brexit.

Hong Kong's situation worsened, and the relationship between Japan and South Korea cooled off.

There were so many events, and the year was in chaos." Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed at their best in 18 months, But Europe was struggling to end on a high on what for many bourses is their last working day of the year.

Among individual movers, EssilorLuxottica was down over 2%, weighing on Paris shares.

The French eyewear group said it had discovered fraudulent activity at a plant in Thailand.

AstraZeneca and

Class="kln">Merck made some eye-grabbing headlines - with news their ovarian cancer drug has received FDA approval - though shares in both hardly moved.

In Frankfurt, meanwhile, the DAX was over half a percent down on profit-taking.

But it has still been a record run in stocks.

The benchmark STOXX 600 was on course to its best year-on-year gains since the global financial crisis.

Fingers crossed for next year, says Baader Bank's Robert Halver.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL MARKETS ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "We are not crisis-free.

We still have trade difficulties and we still don't know what Donald Trump is going to do about Europe.

We don't know what the geopolitical situation will be globally, or about Brexit.

But I think it will be a more or less solid year.

Or to put it differently: the glass is half full." On currency markets, the dollar was still flagging after suffering its biggest one-day fall since June on Friday (December 27).

The outflow stems from a return of risk appetite, say traders, that weakens its safe haven status.

Even so - and despite the celebrations - the Nikkei still ended down for the day by three quarters of a percent, as some investors remained cautious ahead of a new year, and a new decade.

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