Asian Markets are set for flat start to the week after US stocks finished barely changed in Friday's session to cap a strong week after the US unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped and European leaders and central bankers redoubled efforts to tackle the sovereign-debt crisis.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a loss of 0.61 point, or less than 0.1%, at 12019.42, but surged 7% this week, the biggest weekly percentage gain since July 2009. The S&P500 shed 0.30 point, also less than 0.1%, to 1244.28, but added 7.4% this week, the steepest weekly rise since March 2009. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a rise of 0.73 point to 2626.93 and ended the week up 7.6%.
A stronger-than-expected monthly jobs report and signs of progress were not enough to sustain a triple-digit Dow advance early in the session. Stocks tracked a swift mid-session decline in the euro, with European bond yields also changing course mid-session. The week's stock surge, driven by central banks' infusion of cheap dollar loans into the global financial system, left both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq within roughly 1% of break-even for 2011. The blue-chip Dow is up 3.8% for the year.
The euro dropped against the dollar for the first time in three days on mounting speculation that next week's summit of European leaders won't be able to stem the region's sovereign-debt crisis. 0.5% to $1.3391 at 5 p.m. in New York, paring its weekly gain to 1.2%.
WTI Oil rose to a two-week high to cap its first gain in three weeks amid concern that tension between Iran and the West will intensify, threatening shipments from OPEC's second-biggest crude producer Futures climbed 0.8% after the U.S. Senate passed a bill aimed at Iran's central bank yesterday and the European Union tightened sanctions
Gold finished a touch higher after some investors took profits on the early morning rally sparked by strong US employment data.
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