Global markets have enjoyed a stellar 2017

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

London’s benchmark index, which had hit a record of 7,632.71 on Wednesday, was flat at 7,617.27 points in late morning trading.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index was down 0.1 percent at 13,058.50 while the Paris CAC held steady at 5,367.38.

“With only two trading sessions remaining for 2017, liquidity dried up across the global markets,” said FXTM market strategist, Hussein Sayed.

“This has been obvious in US and European equities, where volumes dropped significantly.”

Nevertheless, copper prices were at their highest levels in four years, helping to buoy up London’s commodity-heavy market.

Most Asian markets rose on Thursday, taking their cue from overnight gains on Wall Street.

But analysts warned the dollar could face pressure, despite expectations for more Federal Reserve interest rate hikes over the next 12 months.

“The dollar bears are getting their last licks in for 2017, perhaps foreshadowing things to come in 2018,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at foreign exchange platform Oanda.

Data on Thursday showed that a key US consumer confidence index fell this month, “indicating that consumer spending may have peaked after this year’s blowout holiday season for shoppers,” Innes said.

“And retail sales data could struggle in the face of even the most modest of US rate hikes in 2018.”

The greenback edged down against the yen, pound and euro, and was also weaker against most high-yielding currencies including the Australian dollar, South African rand and South Korean won.

In share trading, 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.

Oil prices were firmer, and Oanda’s Innes said he expected “more regional chaos and disorder to underpin prices”.

- Key figures around 1030 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,617.27

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 13,058.50

Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 5,367.38

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,545.35

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)

New York - DOW: UP 0.1 percent at 24,774.30 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1932 from $1.1889

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3447 from $1.3400

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.89 from 113.33

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 10 cents at $59.74 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 15 cents at $66.59 per barrel