Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

December 28, 2012

Stocks lower ahead of US 'fiscal cliff' talks

NATALIYA VASILYEVA,Associated Press

(Continued)

"Even if it falls into the fiscal cliff, you will only reduce the deficit by about $100 billion," said Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong, referring to the U.S. economy. "In Chinese terms, it's like trying to douse a fire with a cup of water. They should do what Europe has done and try to impose austerity."

In Asia, markets saw another day of boisterous trading.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.7 percent to 10,395.18, its highest level since March 10, 2011, the day that an earthquake and tsunami pummeled Japan's northeastern coast.

Investors have been cheering newly named Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his calls for more public spending to reinvigorate the economy. He also wants the Bank of Japan to raise its inflation target from 1 to 2 percent to drag the country out of two decades of deflation, or steadily declining prices that have deadened economic activity.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent, while South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent.

Benchmark oil for February delivery added 17 cents to $91.04 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 11 cents to finish at $90.87 per barrel.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3222 from $1.3240 late Thursday in New York. The dollar was also down slightly to 86.106 yen from 86.02 yen.

___

Pamela Sampson contributed to this report from Bangkok.

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