World Stocks Rally Runs Out of Steam


World stocks were little changed Friday as a global rally ran out of steam, leaving investors reluctant to place any firm bets ahead of the weekend. 

Wall Street flatlined, while London, Paris and Frankfurt stocks managed to hang on to very slender gains. 

"The stock market seems to have entered a period of consolidation without any clear direction" with investors waiting for any new driving factors to determine where the markets will go next, be it up or down, said Briefing analyst Patrick O'Hare.

The region's markets had bolted higher Thursday with London's FTSE striking a new record peak after the Federal Reserve painted a positive picture of the world's largest economy. Sentiment was buoyed also by the victory of the incumbent party in Dutch elections.

And while the trend appeared to be edging higher, the rally lost momentum, analysts said.

"Equity markets across the globe are positive as improved risk appetite continues into the weekend, although the pace of gains has slowed as drivers -- data and corporate -- are light on the ground," said Accendo Markets analyst, Henry Croft. 

"Investors are continuing to digest the multiple central bank monetary policy updates this week, including surprising hawkishness from the BoE."

Earlier, Asian equities had wobbled with investors concerned about a lack of detail on Trump's tax reforms and spending promises in his first budget.

The underwhelming performance came a day after the Fed's rate hike and signal of a slower pace of future rises sparked a surge across equities and sent the dollar tumbling.

The greenback struggled to recover from that sell-off, with the pound and euro holding onto their gains, while a stronger yen further dented Japanese exporters, in turn dragging Tokyo stocks downwards.

This weekend, meanwhile, traders will eye a G20 finance ministers' meeting in Germany as worries grow over Trump's isolationist slant, while the U.S. president is due to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later Friday.

- 'No meat on bones' -

"Traders are likely to be disappointed that they still haven't seen the meat on the bones of (Trump's) tax proposals and infrastructure spending plans in this skinny budget,"  Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.

"It helps explain why yesterday's Fed sugar hit hasn't continued today."

Back in London, Tullow Oil shares slumped after the British oil explorer launched a $750 million (700-million-euro) deeply-discounted shares sale to help slash debt.

Tullow shares tumbled 15.13 percent to 201.40 pence on London's second-tier FTSE 250 index, which was about 13 percent higher in early afternoon deals.

"Shares in Tullow Oil were poleaxed by today's rights issue, which valued the stock at a 45-percent discount to yesterday's closing price of 237.3 pence," noted ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson.

"A lack of discipline in the good times of high oil prices has saddled Tullow with high debt and despite turning things around to an extent balance sheet repair is still the order of the day."

- Key figures around 1650 GMT -

New York - Dow: FLAT at 20,935.11 points 

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,424.96 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 12,095.24 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,029.24 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,448.41 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 19,521.59 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 24,309.93 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.0 percent at 3,237.45 (close)

Euro/dollar: FLAT at $1.0744 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2387 from $1.2366

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.69 yen from 113.01 yen

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: FLAT at $48.74 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 4 cents at $51.71 per barrel