Dec 23, 2014 8:45 AM

Europe edges higher as Wall Street hits new highs

The Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Global stocks drifted in different directions Tuesday as investors hung their stockings by the chimney with care to see if the pre-holiday party would continue on Wall Street. The Dow is flirting with 18,000 as the holiday break approaches, after setting a record Monday.

KEEPING SCORE: In early afternoon trading in Europe, France's CAC-40 added 0.6 percent to 4,279 and Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent to 9,876. Britain's FTSE rose 0.4 percent to 6,602. Wall Street looked set for further gains after Monday's record highs, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent. On Monday, the Dow rose 0.9 percent to 17,959.44 points and the S&P gained 0.4 percent to 2,078.54. Markets are shifting into Christmas holiday mode. On Wednesday, European and U.S. markets close early. In Germany, it's a full day off.

GREEK DRAMA: Markets in Europe looked past the Greek government's failure to win approval for its presidential candidate in a second round of voting. Failure in the third round Dec. 29 would trigger earlier elections that might be won by the left-wing Syriza party, which has talked about writing down some of Greece's debts and tearing up Greece's unpopular bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund and the other governments that use the euro. That could lead to more financial turmoil. Investor fears have seen Greek stocks plummet due to fears of a Syriza win.

THE QUOTE: "A Greek accident has become a potent risk again. But mostly for Greece itself. The eurozone now has a well-oiled machinery to deal with crises. The eurozone could probably handle an unlikely but not impossible Greek accident with no more than very limited and temporary damage," Holger Schmieding of Berenberg Bank wrote in a research note.

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3 percent at 3,032.61 after spending much of the day in positive territory. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent to 23,326.62 and Seoul's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 1,939.02. India's Sensex declined 0.6 percent to 27,538.22.

ENERGY: Further signs of stabilization in the oil markets emerged Tuesday following the recent rout. The benchmark U.S. crude rate was up 67 cents to $55.93 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 57 cents to $60.68.

CURRENCIES: It was very flat in the foreign exchange markets, with dollar up 0.1 percent at 120.14 yen and the euro 0.1 percent lower at $1.2212.


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