Stocks muted after fatal attacks in Europe

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LONDON: Stock markets struggled Tuesday as traders mulled the impact of deadly attacks in Europe but Wall Street opened higher, edging towards the 20,000 points level on the Dow.

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Paris and London were slightly lower in mid afternoon trading, a day after fatal attacks in Germany and Turkey, while Frankfurt eked out a rise and most Asian indices faltered.

Twelve people were killed and nearly 50 injured when a lorry ploughed into a Berlin Christmas market in what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said was believed to be a “terrorist” attack.

The deadly rampage closely followed the shooting dead of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey in Ankara by a Turkish policeman and a gun attack on a mosque in the Swiss city of Zurich, in which three were injured.

“Sadly, the regularity of such attacks means they no longer surprise the markets in the way they once might have,” Spreadex trader Connor Campbell told AFP.

“In the case of the potential (terrorist) attack in Berlin, the fact it happened outside market hours meant that investors had time to process the event before the start of trading, likely contributing to the placid-to-positive open seen this Tuesday.”

Europe has been on high alert for most of 2016, with terror attacks striking Paris and Brussels, while Germany has been hit by several assaults claimed by the Islamic State group and carried out by asylum seekers.

The incidents led to a promise by US President-elect Donald Trump to wipe “terrorists” off the face of the Earth.

‘Terror attacks priced in’

“Terrorism, political and geopolitical problems flooded the headlines globally,” said London Capital Group analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

“Rising tensions between the US and China, terrorism and carnage in Europe keep the global sentiment contained, although the market reaction remains under control.”

She added: “Markets are getting used to co-exist with the current unrest. Terror attacks appear as already priced in.”

Shares in Mediaset surged 13.5 percent in Milan as a battle for control of the Italian TV company between French corporate raider Vincent Bollore and the Berlusconi family unfolded.

Bollore-led Vivendi said it would increase its Mediaset holding to up to 30 percent from 20 percent now, in a strategy that has raised fierce resistance from the Berlusconis, who have called the move “hostile”.

Hong Kong closed down 0.5 percent and Shanghai also ended down 0.5 percent, with mainland Chinese investors fretting over a weakening yuan and rising bond yields.

However, Tokyo ended 0.5 percent higher after the Bank of Japan held fire on its stimulus but gave an upbeat view of the world’s number-three economy as exports pick up on the back of a weaker yen.

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