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Wall Street stocks finish dramatic week with a whimper

NEW YORK, Jan 28, 2017 :  Wall Street finished a dramatic week with a whimper Friday, with stocks finishing near flat following a report showing sluggish US growth in the fourth quarter.

Analysts said the market was still digesting gains from earlier in the week, including the Dow’s surge Wednesday above 20,000 points.

US growth came in at a sluggish 1.9 percent in the quarter ending December 31, well below the 3.5 percent in the third quarter and below analysts’ expectations.

Markets were mixed elsewhere, with Paris losing 0.5 percent and Frankfurt shedding 0.3 percent, while London and Tokyo both climbed 0.3 percent.

Analysts said sentiment in the US remained upbeat in anticipation that President Donald Trump and the Republican-run Congress will enact tax cuts and other policies that boost economic growth and corporate profits.

Those expectations are letting the market overlook a series of controversies that have dominated headlines since Trump took office last Friday.

These include Trump’s false accusations that the media underreported his inauguration day crowd; his unsupported assertion that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election; and a bruising public fight with Mexico over trade policy and Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for construction of a wall along their 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border.

“He’s making every mistake in the world,” said Hugh Johnson of Hugh Johnson Advisors.

“But if we look beyond these mistakes, and they’re plentiful, we’re really talking about significant fiscal stimulus, and I think that’s what’s been the driver of the market.”

Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Capital Markets, said he was surprised the markets were not perturbed by Trump’s controversies.

“But there is also a sort of dialogue that has been established between Trump and the heads of big US companies,” Volokhine said. “That could be the reason the markets are not more anxious.”

US investors were also monitoring a stream of earnings from large companies, with Chevron, Starbucks and Google parent Alphabet all falling following disappointments. Microsoft and General Dynamics rose.

- Key figures around 2200 GMT -

New York – Dow: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 20,093.78 points (close)

New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,294.69 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent at 5,168.06 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,184.49 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 11,814.27 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 4,839.98 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,302.62 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 19,467.40 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 23,360.78 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: Closed

Euro/dollar: UP at 1.0696 from $1.0673

Pound/dollar: DOWN AT $1.2549 from $1.2593

Dollar/yen: UP at 115.06 yen from 114.56 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 61 cents at $53.17 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN 72 cents at $55.52 per barrel

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