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International markets roundup

NEW YORK: Losses in healthcare and industrial stocks have paused Wall Street's fervent new year rally that has driven the blue-chip Dow index to its fastest ever 1,000 point rise.

The S&P healthcare index fell 0.47 per cent, mostly due to losses in Merck J&J and Pfizer.

A 2.4 per cent drop in Boeing's high-flying stock kept the Dow in the red until late in the US trading session - a day after the index closed above the 26,000 mark for the first time.

Morgan Stanley wrapped up earnings season for the big US banks with a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driving modest gains in its shares.

Alcoa tumbled 8 per cent after the aluminum producer's earnings missed analysts' estimates.

In late afternoon trading (0716 Friday AEDT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.20 per cent, at 26,064.42, the S&P 500 was up 0.04 per cent at 2,803.57, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.14 per cent at 7,308.71.

LONDON: European shares notched up modest gains on Thursday, led higher by a fresh rise for so-called cyclical stocks while company updates and ratings changes from brokers spurred moves among individual names.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.2 per cent at its close.

In Frankfurt, German chipmaker Infineon led the DAX higher, adding 5.6 per cent after getting a rating upgrade from Goldman Sachs, while SocGen began its coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating.

The DAX closed up 0.74 per cent at 13,281.43.

Britain's blue-chip index fell, led lower by utilities and a decline for Associated British Foods after warning that profit at its sugar business would fall more than previously forecast.

The FTSE ended 0.32 per cent down at 7,700.96 points and the mid-cap index finished with a 0.5 per cent fall.

TOKYO: The first acceleration by China's giant economy in seven years kept stocks near record highs on Thursday.

Underlining the momentum of the world economic expansion into the back end of last year, both Chinese fourth quarter growth of 6.8 per cent and December industrial output growth of 6.2 per cent were ahead of expectations.

Most Asian bourses were closing when the data landed but had briefly set a new an all-time record after the US bluechip Dow Jones Industrial index had closed above 26,000 points for the first time.

Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.21 per cent while Japan's Nikkei index closed down 0.44 per cent at 23,763.37.

Hong Kong stocks rose to a fresh peak, led by telecommunications and financial firms. The China Enterprises index HSCE, which tracks major Chinese firm listed in Hong Kong, extended gains after data showed China's Q4 economic growth beats expectations.

The Hang Seng index was up 0.43 per cent at 32,121.94. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 1.76 per cent to 13,094.92.

China's main Shanghai Composite index rose 0.87 per cent to 3,474.75 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.55 per cent at 4,271.42.

WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX50 Index fell 0.3 per cent, to 8272.67.