Global shares meander; will Santa bring Dow 20,000?

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Global shares meandered Thursday as traders hung up their Christmas stockings and dreamed of a new Dow record.

Benchmarks in Europe were little changed in pre-holiday trading. Most Asian markets slipped after President-elect Donald Trump named an economist who is critical of China to head a newly created White House council on trade.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent at 7,032.63 and the French CAC off 0.1 percent at 4,827.51. Germany's DAX was also flat at 11,462.46. Wall Street looked set for a slow start, with Dow futures lingering little changed at 19,882.00, just below a much-awaited landmark high of 20,000. The S&P futures were down 0.1 percent.

TRADE POLICY: President-elect Donald Trump's decision to name Peter Navarro, author of "Death by China," to head a national trade council in his new administration raised concerns in Asia. "We expect this could set in motion more inward-looking U.S. trade policies, with significant risks for trade-dependent economies in the Asia-Pacific region," Mizuho Bank analysts said in a commentary.

THE ITALIAN JOB: Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena teetered on the edge of a government bailout as an effort to raise new capital from private investors struggled. A bailout would test Europe's new rules designed to keep shaky banks from costing taxpayers money. The rules could require retail investors in the bank's unsecured bonds to take losses.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1 percent lower to 19,427.67 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.8 percent to 21,636.20. The Kospi in South Korea fell 0.1 percent to 2,035.73. But Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 5,643.90 and the Shanghai Composite index ticked up 0.1 percent to 3,139.56. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia fell.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 28 cents to $52.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 29 cents to $54.17 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 117.62 yen from 117.54 yen. The euro rose to $1.0449 from $1.0427.

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