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Weekend markets: Wall St slips

Stocks on Wall Street ended the week slightly lower, led down by energy and industrial shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.7 points to finish at 12,977.57 after closing above the 13,000 level earlier in the week for the first time since May 2008.

The S&P 500 index lost 0.3% to 1369.63, after also rising to its highest level since mid-2008, while the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.4% lower at 2976.19.

Seven of the S&P's 10 sectors were lower. Blue chips were weighed down by American Express, which declined 1.1%.

Shares of online business-review site Yelp made a spectacular debut, rising 63% to more than $24 a share.

Other markets: Europe mixed, Asia up
European stock markets ended mostly lower, pulling back after

The Stoxx Europe 600 index edged up 0.1%, to 267.21, after rising as much as 0.3%.

Retail sales in Germany fell in January and joblessness continued to increase in Spain. Spain also lifted its budget deficit target more than analysts had expected.

The index gained 0.9% on the week.

The French CAC-40 index edged up to 3501.17 but that was enough to reach its highest close since August 2.

The UK's FTSE 100 fell 0.3%, to 5911.13, finishing the week down 0.4%. The German DAX shed 0.3%, to 6921.37, closing out the week with a 0.8% gain.

In Asia, financial shares led all markets higher, pushing Japan's Nikkei Stock Average up 0.7%, to 9777.03, its highest close since August 2.

Stocks in Korea and Shanghai also closed at highs for the year. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4% to 2460.69, its highest close since November 17. Korea’s Kospi was up 0.2% at 2034.63.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 0.8% to 21,562.26, while Australia’s ASX/S&P 200 was up 0.4% at 4273.10.
India’s Sensex closed 0.3% higher at 17,636.80.

Commodities: Oil, gold fall
Oil futures retreated 2% as fears of a supply disruption in Saudi Arabia eased and broader markets pulled back.
Saudi officials later denied the reports and futures spent Friday in a steady slide.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery settled $US2.14, or 2%, lower at $US106.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange settled $US2.55, or 2%, lower at $US123.65 a barrel.

Gold fell as strong gains in the US dollar weakened demand.
Gold for April delivery, the most actively traded contract, was down $US9.90, or 0.6%, at $US1712.30 an ounce in New York.

Currencies: US dollar strengthens
The US dollar rose against most major rivals, with the euro slipping after weaker-than-expected German retail sales data and Spain’s higher deficit target.

The euro was at $US1.32 compared with $US1.3312 late on Thursday. It also traded at ¥108.07 from ¥107.98.

The pound traded at $US1.5838 from $US1.5956. The dollar was at ¥81.87 from ¥81.11 and at 0.9141 Swiss franc from 0.9060 franc.

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