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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

U.S. and global stocks fell Tues­day as in­vestors closed their po­si­tions ahead of the New Year and amid con­cern over po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty in Greece. Greek stocks sta­bilised after a volatile trad­ing ses­sion Mon­day, after the gov­ern­ment was forced to call elec­tions that could bring more eco­nomic tur­moil. In­vestors are wor­ried the Jan­uary 25 elec­tions might be won by the left-wing op­po­si­tion Syriza party, which re­jects Greece’s bailout deal. At one point, the Athens stock mar­ket plunged 11% on Mon­day be­fore re­cov­er­ing some of those losses to close down 4%.

“An elec­tion puts all sorts of doubt on the fu­ture of the bailout agree­ment given anti-aus­ter­ity party Syriza is cur­rently lead­ing the polls,” said Stan Shamu, a mar­ket strate­gist at IG Mar­kets. “Po­ten­tially mar­kets had al­ready priced this in, but I would still re­main cau­tious around Greece,” he told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age was down 26 points, or 0.2%, to 18,010 in early Tues­day trad­ing. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex lost four points, or 0.2%, to 2,086 and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite was down six points, or 0.1%, to 4,801.

France’s CAC 40 fell 0.9%, Ger­many’s DAX dropped 1.2% and the FTSE 100 was down 0.7%. At this point, most ma­jor fund man­agers have closed their port­fo­lios for 2014. Stock trad­ing is ex­pected to be quiet un­til the week after the New Year, when most of Wall Street is back from the long hol­i­day week­end. Roughly 2.4 bln shares traded on the New York Stock Ex­change on Mon­day, com­pared with the 3.5 bln typ­i­cally traded on an av­er­age day.

The dol­lar fell to 119.09 yen from 120.659 yen while the euro rose to $1.2173 from $1.2154. Bench­mark U.S. crude was steady at $53.63 per bar­rel in elec­tronic trad­ing on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change. On Mon­day, the con­tract had plunged $1.12 to set­tle at $53.61.

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