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Asia, Europe and U.S. Stock Markets' Closing Reports on May 26, 2017

Lucy Craymer

Australian and Japanese stocks again lagged behind other Asian equities on Friday, with oil’s sharp overnight pullback putting pressure on those equities.
Underperformance has become the norm of late, with Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average stalling just below 20,000, a level it hasn’t reached since December 2015, and Australian equities hit by concerns about banks in the wake of a planned new tax on the country’s biggest lenders.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.65%  closed down 0.6% amid broad weakness in commodities-focused companies, putting the index’s May retreat at 3%. BHP Billiton BHP, -2.00%  , Woodside Petroleum WPL, -2.67%  and Fortescue Metals FMG, -4.53%  fell more than 2%.
The Nikkei NIK, -0.64%  was off 0.5%. The index hit session lows as afternoon trading began and a stronger yen USDJPY, -0.53%   weighed on Japanese stocks; the dollar has been sliding toward ¥111.50.
Oil fell nearly 5% overnight even after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries did what many expected in extending its continuing production-cut deal by nine months. But the reductions won’t be deepened, which some thought was possible and helped fuel some of crude’s most-recent gains.
“It was a case of buy the rumor and sell the fact,” said Stuart Ive, private client manager at OM Financial in Wellington, New Zealand. He added, “What started as a trickle soon turned into an avalanche of selling.”
Oil prices dropped further in midday Asian trading Friday. July Brent futures were recently LCON7, +1.09%  down 0.5% at $51.21 a barrel. Despite the declines, oil is only back to levels seen in mid-May.
Commodity currencies were also under pressure in Asia following the weakness in assets like oil, iron ore and steel. Against the U.S. dollar, the Australian dollar AUDUSD, -0.0939%  fell 0.4%, while the New Zealand dollar NZDUSD, +0.6978%  was down 0.2%.
Meanwhile, stocks in Asia saw some support from overnight gains in U.S. consumer-discretionary names. Leading the way was electronics retailer Best Buy’s BBY, -3.59%  21% post-earnings pop, that stock’s largest since 2001. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.03%  on Thursday notched its 19th record closing high of the year. For all of 2016, there were 18.
Read: Best Buy is capitalizing on troubles at Sears and HHGregg in one particular category
Samsung 005930, +0.88%  rose 1.1% in Asian trading, helping lead Korea’s Kospi Composite Index SEU, +0.53%  deeper into record territory. It was recently up 0.6%, putting its May climb near 7%. Samsung’s 28% surge to start 2017 has been a big factor in Korea’s stock-market outperformance.
Indexes in China and Hong Kong were little changed, while India’s Sensex 1, +0.90%  hit fresh record highs and Taiwan’s Taiex—weighted heavily with companies that help make products and parts in the consumer-electronics space—slipped 0.3%, falling from its best levels since 2000.

Carla Mozee

European stocks finished lower Friday, leaving the regional benchmark with a tiny weekly loss, with oil and gas shares pushed down on disappointment stemming from OPEC’s agreement to extend production cuts.
The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.20% ended 0.2% lower at 391.35, led by the energy and financial sectors. But telecom, industrial and consumer-related shares logged modest gains.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Oil & Gas Index SXEP, -1.06%  slumped 1.1%, under pressure after oil prices LCON7, +1.20% CLN7, +1.68% sank Thursday and were volatile Friday. The selloff came as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members didn’t include deeper crude-output cuts as part of a renewed agreement to cap production through March 2018. Output will remain at 1.8 million barrels a day.
Among oil-services companies, shares of Subsea 7 SA SUBC, -2.43%  fell 2.4%, TechnipFMC PLC FTI, -2.99%  closed down 0.8% and SBM Offshore NV SBMO, -0.70%  moved 0.7% lower.
Among oil producers, OMV AG OMV, -4.16%  dropped 2.7%, Statoil ASA STL, -2.03%  was drawn down 2% and France’s Total SA FP, -0.62%  gave up 0.6%.
“OPEC fell short of providing an upside surprise factor beyond what was already priced in,” said Helima Croft, head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, in a Thursday note.
Read: 16 energy stocks that company executives love, regardless of what OPEC does
The oil sector pared deeper declines, helping the Stoxx Europe 600 record just a fractional loss for the week.
Stock movers: On the German DAX 30, shares of auto makers fell after a Der Spiegel newspaper report that U.S. President Donald Trump complained to European officials about Germany’s exports. Trump reportedly said the Germans sell “millions” of cars in the U.S., and “we’ll stop that.”
Shares of BMW AG BMW, -1.29%  fell 1.1%. Daimler AG DAI, -0.62% and Volkswagen AG VOW3, -0.58%  each gave up 0.6%.
Petrofac Ltd. PFC, -9.70%  tumbled 9.7, extending its 30% plunge on Thursday after the oil services company said it suspended Chief Operating Officer Marwan Chedid until further notice. The company is under U.K. investigation on suspicion of bribery, corruption and money laundering. Petrofac said it’s cooperating with authorities.
Spirax-Sarco Engineering PLC SPX, +8.47%  jumped 8.5% after the steam-system engineering company said it’s buying Chromalox Inc. in a $415 million deal.
Indexes: Germany’s DAX DAX, -0.15% ended lower by 0.2% at 12,602.18. France’s CAC 40 index PX1, -0.01%  pared its decline, closing down less than 1 point at 5,226.58 and Italy’s FTSE MIB I945, -0.38%  fell 0.4% to 21,210.57.
But the U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, +0.40% rose 0.4% for its highest close, at 7,547.63. That move came as the pound GBPUSD, -0.9814%  fell below $1.28 following a poll that showed the Conservative Party’s lead over the Labour Party continued to shrink before the U.K.’s June 8 general election.
Meanwhile, the euro EURUSD, -0.3211%  bought $1.1172, down from $1.1217 late Thursday in New York.

Wallace Witkowski

Published: May 26, 2017
The tech-heavy Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed at records Friday as stocks finished higher for the week ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.03% finished up 0.75 points at a record 2,415.82, led by gains in the consumer-staples and consumer-discretionary sectors. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.08% closed up 4.94 points, or less than 0.1%, at a record 6,210.19. Both benchmarks finished for a seventh day of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.01% declined 2.67 points to close at 21,080.28, less than 40 points shy of its March 1 closing record. For the week, the Dow finished up 1.3% and the S&P 500 gained 1.4%, both snapping a two-week streak of finishing lower, while the Nasdaq advanced 2.1%.


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