Asian Markets are set for a muted start to the trading day after Most U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 Index higher for a third day, as a rally in banks helped the market recover from an early slump spurred by growing signs Europe may slip into a recession.
The S&P500 rose 0.40 points, or 0.03%, to 1292.48 with financials leading the gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 13.02 points lower, or 0.1%, at 12449.50, while the Nasdaq rose 8.26 points or 0.31%.
Equities fell earlier as Germany's Federal Statistics Office said the economy probably shrank in the fourth quarter from the third, and the European Union cut euro-area growth to 0.1% in the third quarter, from 0.2% estimated earlier. The U.S. economic expansion improved last month across most of the country while hiring was limited and housing remained stagnant, the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book.
The euro dipped below $1.27 against the U.S. greenback, falling to a 16-month low, after ratings agency Fitch urged the ECB to ramp up buying of euro zone debt to prevent a cataclysmic collapse of the euro. European shares also ended lower.
Oil fell as U.S. crude and fuel supplies climbed more than expected and concern mounted that a contracting German economy will drag Europe into recession. Crude oil for February delivery declined $1.37 to settle at $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold rose to a one-month high on Wednesday, breaking ranks with the euro and equities, as evidence of strong physical demand from China fuelled fund buying after bullion's recent sell-off. U.S. February gold futures settled up $8.10 at $1,639.60 an ounce
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