Global markets have enjoyed a stellar 2017

London (AFP) - European stock markets were weaker in light holiday-season trading on Thursday, but London’s FTSE 100 was still hovering close to its recent record highs on the back of strong commodity prices.

On the other side of the Atlantic, stocks on Wall Street pushed higher as a pullback in the dollar boosted shares of exporters.

But in Europe, London’s FTSE ended the session flat, while Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index and the Paris CAC were lower.

“Equity markets are once again mixed in thin market trading,” said Accendo Markets analyst, Henry Croft.

For Oanda analyst Craig Erlam, it was “another relatively quiet day, as is often the case during the holiday period, and a lack of economic events on the calendar won’t help matters.”

AxiTrader analyst James Hughes said that the markets were “struggling for any real direction”.

“With very little on the calendar out of Europe, it’s likely to be numbers from the US that are the dominant force for any dollar moves,” he said.

With many traders on holiday, the week between Christmas and New Year is traditionally a sleepy time for markets, among the least traded period of the year.

US stocks have had a banner year in 2017, boosted by an improving labour market, anticipation of the massive US tax cut plan that was signed into law last week by President Donald Trump, and improving economic conditions in other key regions.

Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong rose 0.9 percent and Shanghai gained 0.6 percent, while Sydney put on 0.3 percent.

But Tokyo finished 0.6 percent down after an afternoon sell-off fuelled by the strengthening yen, as traders fret over another possible North Korean missile test.

- Bitcoin tumbles -

Bitcoin sank more than $1,800, or 11 percent, to below $14,000 at 0600 GMT after South Korea said it would ban anonymous trading of virtual currencies and crack down on their links to money laundering activities.

It later recovered slightly to $14,346.

South Korea is one of main trading nations in bitcoin, accounting for about 20 percent of global transactions.

The digital unit has seen stratospheric growth this year, rising more than 25-fold from its January low to hit a record around $19,500 earlier this month, according to Bloomberg figures.

- Key figures around 1640 GMT -

New York - DOW: UP 0.2 percent at 24,817.08 points

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,622.88 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.7 percent at 12,979.94 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 5,339.42 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,524.50

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 22,783.98 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.9 percent at 29,863.71 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,296.38 (close)

Euro/dollar: FLAT at $1.1950

Pound/dollar: FLAT at $1.3447

Dollar/yen: FLAT at 112.86

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 12 cents at $59.52 per barrel

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