* Asia ex-Japan stocks set to end the week lower
* Europe poised for flat to lower open
* Traders expect dollar rally to resume on U.S. growth
* Oil surrenders some gains before Christmas weekend
* Gold climbs as risk appetite ebbs
By Nichola Saminather
SINGAPORE, Dec 23 Asian stocks retreated in
subdued trade on Friday after Wall Street took a breather from
its surge since the U.S. election, while the dollar hovered
below the 14-year high set earlier this week.
European markets look set to open flat to slightly lower,
with financial spreadbetter IG Markets expecting Britain's FTSE
100 to open down 0.1 percent on a shortened trading day,
and Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 to start
the day little changed.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
, fell 0.4 percent to a five-month low. It was
heading for a drop of 1.8 percent in its second consecutive week
China's CSI 300 index dropped 0.7 percent, dragged
lower by brokerage and insurance shares, on expectations
regulators will tighten supervision over online insurance
products. The index was on track to lose 1.1 percent for the
Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 0.5 percent, and was
poised for a similar weekly loss.
Japan's Nikkei, closed for a holiday on Friday,
edged 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
Overnight, U.S. equities posted their first back-to-back
daily declines of the month in light trading ahead of the
Christmas weekend. U.S. indices fell as much as 0.4 percent on
"Santa has taken a leave of absence into the end of the
week," Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore, wrote
in a note. "Asian indices could remain depressed into the end of
Wall Street stocks have been on a tear since the U.S.
election on expectations that Donald Trump's promised fiscal
stimulus will boost economic growth and company profits. The Dow
Jones Industrial Average has surged 8.7 percent since
before the election results were announced.
Markets globally appeared be on pause for the holidays, with
the MSCI World index down 0.1 percent on Thursday, and little
changed on Friday.
Europe's STOXX 600 index closed down 0.2 percent on
Thursday, with the broader downtrend offsetting expectations of
a government bailout for troubled Italian lender Monte dei
Paschi di Siena, which closed at a record low on
Early on Friday, the Italian government approved a rescue of
the world's oldest bank, after it failed to raise enough money
from private investors to stay afloat.
Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told reporters his cabinet
had authorised creation of a 20-billion-euro ($21 billion) fund
to prop up Italy's embattled banking sector, with Monte dei
Paschi expected to be first in line for help.
Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse said
separately on Friday they had agreed to deals of $7.2 billion
and $5.3 billion respectively with the U.S. over their sales of
mortgage securities in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis.
In the foreign exchange markets, the dollar was subdued,
having scaled its highest point since December 2002 on Tuesday.
It has since hovered below that level, with traders unwilling to
make any big moves ahead of the holiday weekend.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against
a basket of six global peers, slipped 0.1 percent to 102.98,
down from Tuesday's 103.65 peak. It is poised to end the week
The dollar inched down 0.2 percent against the yen
to 117.355, and was on track for a 0.55 percent loss for the
Still, most traders retain positive bets on the U.S.
currency, particularly after upbeat economic data including
business spending, and an upward revision to third-quarter
economic growth on Thursday.
"The trend is definitely for a stronger dollar," Stephen
Casey, senior currency trader at Cambridge Global Payments in
New York. "Any dip in the dollar will a buying opportunity."
The euro edged up 0.2 percent to $1.0453 on
Friday, on track for a flat end to the week.
Sterling was little changed at $1.229, on track for a weekly
slide of 1.6 percent.
The muted investor sentiment weighed on the Australian
dollar, which dropped 0.1 percent to $0.7207,
fractionally above a seven-month low touched Thursday and
Oil prices slipped as investors took profits after
Thursday's gains driven by strong U.S. economic data and
optimism that crude producers would keep to their pledge to
U.S. crude pulled back 0.5 percent to $52.69 a barrel
on Friday, but remains on track for a 1.5 percent gain for the
Global benchmark Brent crude fell 0.4 percent to
$54.85, set to close the week 0.7 percent lower.
As risk appetite ebbed on Friday, the decline in gold
prices, which have languished in the wake of the dollar's rally,
reversed. Spot gold climbed 0.3 percent to $1,131.79 an
ounce, shrinking its weekly loss to 0.2 percent.
(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Additional reporting by Wayne
Cole; Editing by Eric Meijer and Richard Borsuk)