NEW YORK: A dramatic session on Wall Street have ended with stocks slightly lower, paring losses in late-afternoon trade after Republicans pulled their bill to overhaul the US healthcare system.
The benchmark S&P 500 shot up briefly into positive territory before falling back into the red as Republicans pulled the legislation due to a shortage of votes just before the markets closed, leaving investors to assess how the healthcare bill's failure would affect President Donald Trump's broader economic agenda.
Investors had worried earlier this week that the failure of the bill, which would have dismantled the law known as Obamacare, would prove an ominous sign for Trump's ability to push through his economic agenda, including tax reform.
But some analysts and investors have seen a failure of the bill as a catalyst to bring forward action on tax reform in particular.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.29 per cent to end at 20,596.72, the S&P 500 closed flat, down 0.08 per cent to 2,343.98 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.19 per cent to 5,828.74.
LONDON: Mainland Europe's major stock markets mainly fell, while Germany's bourse rose and London key index finished flat.
"Markets are in wait-and-see mode," said Craig Erlam, a market analyst with retail broker Oanda in London.
Stocks and the euro took some heart from purchasing manager surveys in France and Germany, both far stronger than forecast and again pointing to a European economy finally emerging from years of crisis and stagnation.
Frankfurt's DAX rose 0.20 per cent to 12,064.27, while London'S FTSE 100 fell 0.05 per cent to 7,336.82.
TOKYO: Asian stocks rose with Tokyo lifting close to one per cent, encouraged by a slight softening in the yen, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares was all but flat.
Tokyo's Nikkei added 0.93 per cent to close at 19,262.53.
A Reuters poll out on Friday also showed confidence among Japanese manufacturers rose for a seventh straight month to a three-year high.
Hong Kong stocks eked out marginal gains, with investors awaiting corporate earnings and a vote on a new US healthcare bill seen as President Trump's first policy test.
The benchmark Hang Seng index added 0.13 per cent, to 24,358.27 points.
The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.1 per cent, to 10,477.81 points.
Most sectors in Hong Kong lost ground, with resource stocks leading the declines.
China stocks rose as strong gains in the infrastructure sector offset concerns over tightening liquidity in the country's banking system, increased regulation and fresh curbs on property investment.
The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.8 per cent to 3,489.60 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.64 per cent to 3,269.45.
WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 11.28 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,073.83.