World Stocks Mixed in Slow Trade Friday

BANGKOK (AP) -- Global shares were mixed Friday in quiet New Year's Eve trading.

Paris and London were lower while Hong Kong and Shanghai advanced. Activity was relatively quiet with many investors having closed out their positions for the year.

Markets in Tokyo, Frankfurt and many other cities were closed.

Investors will likely not make any large moves until next week with the start of the New Year, though in China end-of-year window dressing may have pushed prices higher.

In Paris, the CAC 40 lost 0.2% to 7,158.45. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.4% to 7,375.91. The future for the Dow industrials edged less than 0.1% lower while the contract for the S&P 500 also lost less than 0.1%.

In Asia, Hong Kong jumped 1.2% in New Year's Eve trading to 23,397.67 and the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.6% to 3,639.78. Sydney lost 0.9% to 7,444.60 as the number of new coronavirus cases in some parts of Australia surged.

India's Sensex rose 0.8%.

A survey released Friday showed Chinese factory activity edged higher in December as supply disruptions eased and export demand weakened.

The monthly purchasing managers' index issued by the national statistics agency and an industry group gained to 50.3 from November's 50.1 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity accelerating.

On Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 index slipped 0.3% a day after notching a record high, closing at 4,778.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which also set a new high Wednesday, fell 0.2% to 36,398.08. The Nasdaq also slipped 0.2%, to 15,741.56.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks slipped less than 0.1% to 2,248.79.

Major U.S. stock indexes are on pace to end December with solid gains, capping a banner year for the market. The S&P 500 is headed for a gain of more than 27% for 2021, the best performance since 2019, another standout year.

A wave of consumer demand fueled by the reopening of economies pumped up corporate profits more than expected this year, which helped keep investors in a buying mood.

The Federal Reserve and other central banks also helped, by keeping interest rates low, which makes borrowing money more affordable for companies and consumers.

Plenty of economic challenges persist, including rising inflation, global supply chain disruptions and outbreaks of more contagious variants of the COVID-19 virus.

Investor concerns about the omicron variant, which is spreading fast and quickly becoming the dominant coronavirus variant, have eased in recent weeks after researchers said it appears to cause less severe symptoms.

Technology companies accounted for a big share of Wall Street's late-afternoon slide. Micron Technology led the sector decline, dropping 2.4% after disclosing that its memory chip output has been hindered by a lockdown in the Chinese city of Xi'an intended to contain a coronavirus outbreak.

Investors got a couple bits of good news. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell below 200,000, more evidence that the job market remains strong in the aftermath of last year's coronavirus recession. Wall Street will get the December jobs report next week.

Meanwhile the Chicago Purchasing Manager Index, a gauge of manufacturing and economic activity, came in at 63.1 for December. That's slightly better than the reading of 62.0 that economists were expecting, according to FactSet.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 1.51%, down from 1.54% on Wednesday.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 34 cents to $76.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 43 cents to $76.99 per barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude oil, the basis for pricing international oils, gave up 29 cents to $79.24 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 115.09 Japanese yen from 115.08 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1318 from $1.1326.