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U.S. markets closed lower on Wednesday for a fifth day as bank results disappointed and energy shares extended losses on falling oil prices. According to Reuters expectations for U.S. fourth-quarter earnings have been scaled back sharply. The SNB's decision to scrap its cap to the franc further added to volatility. A mixed set of economic data added to the negative sentiment. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank released its manufacturing index on Thursday. The index dropped to 6.3 in January from 24.5 in December. That was the lowest level since February 2014. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 20.3. The DOW JONES index lost -0.61%, declining by 106 points, closing at 17,320.71. The S&P 500 declined by -0.92% with a final quote of 1,992.67, falling below the level of 2,000 points for the first time in a month.
Chinese stock markets were mixed on Friday amid speculation the government will increase stimulus to boost economic growth. Hong Kong's Hang Seng trading -0.80% at 24,156.92 points. China's Shanghai Composite closed at 3,377.43 points, adding +1.23% extending its longest weekly winning streak in 8 years.
Japan's Nikkei fell to a 2-½ moth low during trade. The index closed -1.43 at 16,864.16 points falling for a third week. A strong yen as a result of flight to safety weighed Japanese stocks down. At markets close speculations on pension funds and the BOJ buying stocks trimmed losses and investors saw the sharp decline in prices as buying opportunity.
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