Stocks rise despite looming US government closure

A man walks past an electronic stock board showing the Hang Seng Index at a bank in Hong Kong, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. Asian stock markets were uneven and the dollar fell on Friday following Wall Street's retreat as the threat of a U.S. federal government shutdown loomed on the weekend. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Modest gains for world shares as US government closure looms, dollar retreats

HONG KONG — Stock markets rose Friday as investors looked past the threat of a U.S. federal government shutdown and focused on a strong underlying economy. The price of oil fell on a report saying U.S. production is set to rise further above 50-year highs.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX was up 1.1 percent to 13,424 and France's CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent to 5,521. Britain's FTSE 100 gained a more modest 0.3 percent to 7,720 after data showed retail sales fell sharply in the holiday spending month of December. Wall Street was poised to open higher: Dow futures added 0.3 percent and the broader S&P 500's futures edged up 0.2 percent.

SHUTDOWN: U.S. House lawmakers voted for a stopgap funding bill to keep agency doors open and federal workers at their jobs until mid-February, but Senate Democrats and some Republicans were expected to block it on Friday. A shutdown could hurt consumer spending and rattle markets, though it's unlikely to cause widespread economic damage, Credit Suisse economists said in a note on Thursday.

TRADER TALK: Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA, said that some investors maybe cautious about the U.S. shutdown "but in the bigger scheme of things this case of hiccups is likely to pass as quickly as it arrived."

GLOBAL OUTLOOK: Mostly, investors are driving stock indexes higher — many to record highs — on optimism over the global outlook and corporate earnings. Next week brings a raft of economic data along with meetings by the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged 0.2 percent higher to 23,808.06 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.2 percent to 2,520.26. Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 0.4 percent higher at 32,254.89 while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China added 0.4 percent to 3,487.86. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.2 percent to 6,005.80. Shares were mixed in Southeast Asia and Taiwan's benchmark rose.

ENERGY: Oil futures retreated after the International Energy Agency said U.S. oil production would rise strongly this year. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 67 cents to $63.28 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, sank 73 cents to $68.58 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 110.54 yen from 111.07 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.2262 from $1.2237.

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