U.S. stocks were little changed Friday as a sleep day of trading enveloped Wall Street. The S&P 500 finished fractionally lower, while the NASDAQ gained 0.1%. For the week the S&P 500 gained 0.4% and the NASDAQ 0.8%.
- The Commerce Department said the trade gap increased 16% in November to $48.7 billion. Analysts were expecting the deficit to shrink to $41.3 billion, so the report could lead some economists to trim their forecasts for economic growth in the fourth quarter. Net imports suck cash out of the economy, subtracting from gross domestic product. The trade deficit was the widest since April, and its expansion was driven by a 3.8% increase in imports, the largest gain in eight months.
Oil was down 0.3% to $93.56, gold dropped 1% to $1660.70, and silver sunk 1.65% to $30.41.
British stocks gained 0.3% while German and French stocks both added 0.1%.
Japan's market rose to a 23 month high, gaining 1.4% Friday, as Japan embarks on yet another round of decades long "stimulus".
- Japan's cabinet approved on Friday an economic stimulus package in the biggest spending boost since the financial crisis. The government will spend 10.3 trillion yen ($116.8 billion) on public works, incentives for corporate investment and financial aid for small firms to help the economy emerge from a mild recession triggered by falling exports last year.
The Shanghai Composite declined 1.8% as inflation concerns led to some profit taking after a substantial run since early December.
- China's Consumer Price Index rose 2.5% in December from a year earlier, quicker than November's 2.0% rise, and roughly in line with the median 2.4% gain expected by economists.