European stocks mixed after Japan unveils spending plan

European stock markets showed mixed results in late trading on Friday, while the euro gained ground against the dollar as traders booked profits after recent strong gains and reacted to the announcement of a stimulus package in Japan.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies edged up 0.12 percent to 6,108.80 points nearing in afternoon trading.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 was flat at 7,709.08 points, the Paris CAC 40 fell 0.19 percent to 3,695.97 and Madrid was up by 0.49 percent at 8,660.80 points.

"Early advances seen across European markets, on the back of news Japan's government has advocated a $116 billion (87-billion-euro) stimulus package, have been tempered by end-of-week profit taking as the FTSE 100 climbed to its highest level since February 2011 on Thursday," said CMC Markets trader Nick Dale-Lace.

"Markets are expected to trade sideways on an afternoon thin on economic data," he added.

The European single currency climbed to $1.3344 from $1.3261 late in New York on Thursday. Sterling was sharply down against the euro and dollar following poor British manufacturing data, dealers said.

The yen meanwhile tumbled against rival currencies after Japan's new leaders unveiled a stimulus package worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

The dollar climbed to 89.89 yen at one point in Tokyo -- the highest level since June 2010.

The euro also surged to 118.98 yen in London trading, the highest since May 2011.

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold fell to $1,669.50 an ounce from $1,675 on Thursday.

In New York, US stocks were soft in early trading, held down by disappointing November foreign trade data and signs in Wells Fargo's quarterly earnings that its interest margin had tightened.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.14 percent, the broad-based S&P 500 slipped by 0.09 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite was flat.

US Department of Commerce data showed that the US trade deficit widened sharply in November, posting its highest level in seven months at $48.7 billion amid a jump in consumer-goods imports.

Most Asian stock markets had closed lower earlier in the day but Tokyo hit a 23-month high as the yen sank owing to Japan's stimulus package.

While the yen came under fresh selling pressure after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outlined his economy-boosting plan, the euro was lifted also by unexpectedly positive comments about the eurozone by European Central Bank head Mario Draghi.

Among a long list of positives, he pointed to lower bond yields, higher stock prices, record-low volatility, strong inflows into the eurozone, a halt of capital flight in peripheral countries and a reduction of the ECB's balance sheet.

"If you look at the overall landscape taking, let's say, a medium-term will see a significant improvement in financial market conditions," Draghi said on Thursday after the ECB left eurozone interest rates on hold.

Draghi added that the debt crisis was not yet over, but added that while the overriding fear last year had been one of "contagion" and that the crisis would deepen and spread, there was also "positive contagion when things go well."



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