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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks little changed, US dollar near 14-year peak in thin trading
December 23, 2016 / 6:22 PM / a year ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks little changed, US dollar near 14-year peak in thin trading

* Wall Street stocks little moved in thin trading

* U.S. dollar, bonds, commodities in tight range before holiday

By Dion Rabouin

NEW YORK, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Key stock indexes around the world were little changed on Friday, as were the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasury yields, in thin trading ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend.

The U.S. dollar held steady against a basket of major currencies, lingering about half a percent below a 14-year peak set earlier this week.

U.S. Treasury prices were slightly firmer in thin volumes as investors made minimal moves in a holiday-shortened session.

Bonds showed little reaction to data showing that new U.S. single-family home sales rose 5.2 percent on an annual basis in November to the second highest pace since 2007, while consumer sentiment hovered near a 13-year high this month.

“We’re a little stronger, the curve is a little flatter, but volume has been anemic,” said Justin Lederer, an interest rate strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York.

Trading volumes have been muted this week, which is also the last full week of trading this year. U.S. markets will be shut for the Christmas holiday on Monday.

U.S. equity indexes were mixed and remained near their Thursday closing levels, with the three major indexes on track to post weekly gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which came close to the 20,000 mark earlier this week, looked set to record its seventh straight weekly gain.

“With Christmas this weekend and New Year’s just over a week away, global stocks may meander between losses and gains as investors strategize for 2017,” said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM in Croydon, London.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11.64 points, or 0.06 percent, to 19,907.24, the S&P 500 lost 0.81 points, or 0.035825 percent, to 2,260.15 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.94 points, or 0.05 percent, to 5,450.36.

European stocks were mixed, with banks edging higher after both Deutche Bank and Credit Suisse settled investigations into U.S. mortgage securities sales.

A bailout for Italy’s oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi, was also approved as Italy’s government looked to end a protracted banking crisis that has gummed up the economy.

European shares closed little changed with an index of Italian lenders up 0.64 percent.

While Monte dei Paschi shares were suspended from trading, Italian government bond yields fell, with 10-year yields slipping to 1.81 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan , which touched a five-month low on Thursday, fell 0.48 percent, and was heading for a weekly drop of more than 2.0 percent in a second consecutive week of declines.

Japan’s Nikkei, closed for a holiday on Friday, was up 0.1 percent for the week. The index has posted seven straight weeks of gains, its longest winning streak since early 2013, boosted by the yen’s weakness in the face of a surging dollar.

Gold edged higher as the U.S. dollar retreated from a 14-year peak, tempting some buyers to take advantage of a near 10-month low in prices after six straight weeks of decline.

Crude oil futures slipped below $55 a barrel as higher Libyan output threatened to counter some of the supply cuts planned by OPEC and other producers.

Additional reporting by Vikram Subhedar and Alex Lawler in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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