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Dec 30, 2014 8:06 AM

Global markets lower as traders eye New Year break

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Global stocks fell on Tuesday as investors prepared for the upcoming New Year holiday weekend in many countries and amid concern over political uncertainty in Greece.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 fell 0.8 percent to 4,281.85 and Germany's DAX dropped 0.7 percent to 9,862.49. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.9 percent at 6,573.79. Wall Street looked set for small losses, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and broader Standard & Poor's 500 index down 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed 1.6 percent lower at 17,450.77 on 2014's final trading day. The benchmark gained 7.1 percent this year. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.6 percent to 1,915.59, ending the year 4.8 percent lower. China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.1 percent to 3,165.81 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was also down 1.1 percent to 23,501.10. Australia's S&P/ ASX 200 fell 1 percent to 5,416.60.

GREEK UNCERTAINTY: Greek stocks stabilized after a volatile trading session on Monday, when the government was forced to call elections that could bring more economic turmoil. Uncertainty over the country's prospects remained investors worry elections might be won by the left-wing opposition Syriza party, which rejects Greece's bailout deal. On Monday, the Athens stock market plunged 11 percent before recovering to close down 4 percent.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "An election puts all sorts of doubt on the future of the bailout agreement given anti-austerity party Syriza is currently leading the polls," said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets. "Potentially markets had already priced this in but I would still remain cautious around Greece."

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 119.55 yen from 120.659 yen while the euro rose to $1.2159 from $1.2154.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 35 cents to $53.26 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract plunged $1.12 to settle at $53.61.


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