Asian Markets are set to open weaker after U.S. stocks rose for a second week, with benchmark indexes reaching five-month highs on Jan. 12, as bets China may act to spur economic growth outweighed concern about credit-rating cuts for some European nations.
The S&P500 fell 6.41 points, or 0.49%, to 1289.09 with finials and tech sector's leading stocks into the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 48.96 points lower, or 0.39%, at 12422.10, while the Nasdaq fell 14.03 points or 0.51%.
Stocks ended their four-day winning streak on the last day of the week as France and Austria were stripped of its top credit rating by S&P and banks suspended talks with Greece over debt restructuring, the first blows this year to efforts aimed at stemming Europe's fiscal turmoil. Germany, Europe's biggest economy, retained its AAA rating in a review of euro-area countries' credit grades by S&P.
Spain and Italy were also downgraded, while Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg also kept their AAA ratings. While the ratings actions weren't confirmed by S&P until after close of U.S. exchanges, European officials had revealed some of them during the trading session.
The euro weakened for a second day, reaching an 11-year low versus the yen, after Standard & Poor's stripped France of its top credit rating and cut eight other euro-zone nations. The euro fell 0.3% to $1.2636 as of 5:29 a.m. in Tokyo from $1.2680 at the close of trading last week.
Oil dropped to a three-week low after two European Union officials said an embargo on Iranian crude imports may be postponed for six months. Crude oil for February delivery fell 40 cents to $98.70 a barrel.
Gold fell around 1%v on Friday, after the dollar surged against the euro and fears about the credit downgrade of euro zone countries prompted bullion investors to take profits on the recent rally. U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled down $16.90 an ounce at $1,630.80.
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