United States stocks close lower on government shutdown concerns

The S&P 500 increased 26.14 points, or 0.94 per cent, to 2,802.56.

USA housing starts probably slipped in December for the first time in three months as frigid winter weather impeded work, forecasts show ahead of Thursday's release.

Real estate, health care and consumer staples sectors were the only ones attracting investors, while energy and materials sold off, down more than 1% following a drop in oil prices.

Shares were lower Wednesday in Asia after a flip-flop session on Wall Street, where the Dow industrial average ended nearly flat after backtracking from a broad rally earlier in the day. Of the S&P 500 companies that had reported as of Wednesday, 78% have surpassed earnings-per-share estimates while 89% have beaten expectations on the top line, reports said. A total of 1,310,797 shares exchanged hands during the intra-day trade contrast with its average trading volume of 733.98K shares, while its relative volume stands at 1.79. Robust corporate earnings and optimism over economic policies, mainly the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package, have helped drive stocks higher in 2018.

Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent to 13,223 while France's CAC 40 edged up less than 0.1 percent to 5,493. The S&P financial index is up almost 5 percent to start the year.

Citigroup rose 0.4 percent after the bank reported an $18.3 billion loss for the fourth quarter due to the new tax law. Marathon Patent, Riot BlockChain, Xunlei and Overstock.com fell between 7.7 percent and 11 percent.

"U.S. equity markets are really turning on the afterburners now and it is really being validated by earnings and the economic data that is providing a really constructive outlook for the broader economy", said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group, in NY. The Nasdaq added one-percent to 7,298.2-8, also a record high.

Deutsche Bank lost 0.8 per cent after it was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to rig a Canadian benchmark rate.

The British pound was essentially unchanged at percent to $1.3796.

Specialist Meric Greenbaum, left, works with traders Michael Conlon, center, and Daniel Ryan on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018.

The dollar rose to 111.13 yen from 110.30 yen on Wednesday. The stock slid 6 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $31.18.

The euro slipped to $1.2232 from $1.2181.

FTSE 100 was down 0.39%.


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