NEW YORK, March 18, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - World stocks were little changed Friday as a global rally ran out of steam, leaving investors reluctant to place any firm bets ahead of the weekend.
Major US indices were flat or modestly lower, while London, Paris and Frankfurt stocks managed to hang on to very slender gains.
"The stock market seems to have entered a period of consolidation without any clear direction" with investors waiting for any new factors to determine where the markets will go next, be it up or down, said Briefing analyst Patrick O'Hare.
Analysts also pointed to unease over the risk of a trade war amid President Donald Trump's tough talk. Questions about trade hung over a White House meeting Friday between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and were expected to be at the forefront of a weekend G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Germany.
Europe's markets had bolted higher Thursday with London's FTSE striking a new record peak after the Federal Reserve painted a positive picture of the world's largest economy. Sentiment was buoyed also by the victory of the incumbent party in Dutch elections, but markets reversed course Friday.
Earlier, Asian equities had wobbled with investors concerned about a lack of detail on Trump's tax reforms and spending promises in his first budget.
Among individual stocks, Tullow Oil shares slumped 15.1 percent after the British oil explorer launched a $750 million (700-million-euro) deeply-discounted share sale to help slash debt.
Toshiba jumped 3.5 percent to 190.1 yen on reports Tokyo is mulling using state money to support the loss-hit company's plans to spin off its prized memory chip business. The government denied the reports.
US biotech firm Amgen slumped 7.0 percent after it released clinical data that showed its Repatha drug, in concert with other treatments, reduced the chance of a major cardiovascular event by 20 percent. Analysts said the finding was a bit underwhelming given lofty expectations for the drug.
- Key figures around 2030 GMT -
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 20,914.62 (close)
New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,378.25 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: FLAT at 5,901.00 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,424.96 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 12,095.24 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,029.24 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,448.41
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 19,521.59 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 24,309.93 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.0 percent at 3,237.45 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0735 from $1.0771
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2392 from $1.2358
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.71 yen from 113.26 yen
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 3 cents at $48.78 per barrel
Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 2 cents at $51.72 per barrel