Global Stocks

U.K. stocks dropped for a fourth straight session on Thursday, with pressure on London’s blue-chips benchmark coming from continued strength in the pound and a decline in shares of Primark chain operator Associated British Foods following a trading update.

U.S. stock benchmarks finished lower Thursday, pressured by worries over the possibility of a partial government shutdown, as investors sorted through a fresh batch of quarterly earnings results. The Dow, however, managed to retain a foothold above 26,000 while the S&P 500 tied the longest stretch in history without a 5% pullback at 394 sessions.

Asia-Pacific stocks turned broadly higher by midday after a slow start to Friday’s trading, as investors largely ignored ongoing U.S. budget negotiations. “Equities are the name of the game in Asia at the moment and it’s going to continue,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading in Asia at Oanda, in the wake of strong January gains in the region.

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