US indices end banner August, Buffett Japan investment boosts Nikkei

Tokyo's Nikkei closed higher, shrugging off concerns over who would succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on news Warren Buffett had bought huge holdings in top Japanese firms
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Major US stock indices concluded their best August in decades in a mixed session for global equities, with Tokyo pushing higher following investment by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in Japanese trading firms.

The tech-rich Nasdaq finished at yet another record, but stood as the only one of the major US indices to end the day in positive territory. 

Still, both the Dow and S&P enjoyed their best Augusts since the mid-1980s, a reflection of the boost from extraordinary fiscal and monetary measures to lift the coronavirus-battered US economy.

In spite of the Dow's drop, it was "still a pretty good month," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. Monday's pullback reflects "the ebbs and flows of the market."

Investors are looking ahead to key US economic data later this week, including the August jobs report and updates on the manufacturing and services sectors.

London was closed for a public holiday, while Paris ended the day with a drop of 1.1 percent and Frankfurt gave up 0.7 percent.

German consumer prices were flat in August, official data showed. The stagnating prices in Europe's largest economy will continue to raise the spectre of eurozone deflation and are likely to cause some anxiety at the European Central Bank.

Earlier in the day, Asian shares had closed lower for the most part, with Hong Kong down one percent as Shanghai dipped 0.2 percent.

Tokyo gained more than one percent however, shrugging off concerns over who would succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after news that US investment legend Warren Buffett had bought five percent holdings in top Japanese companies.

The stakes are in Itochu Corp, Marubeni Corp, Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui & Co and Sumitomo Corp, and Berkshire said it plans to "hold its Japanese investments for the long term."

Berkshire said it could increase its holdings up to 9.9 percent in any of the five firms, but added it would not exceed that cap "unless given specific approval by the investee's board of directors."

- Key figures around 2045 GMT -  

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.8 percent at 28,430.05 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,500.31 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.7 percent at 11,775.46 (close)

London - FTSE 100 closed for public holiday

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.7 percent at 12,945.38 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.1 percent at 4,947.22 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.3 percent at 3,272.51 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 23,139.76 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.0 percent at 25,177.05 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,395.68 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1935 from $1.1903 at 2100 GMT on Friday

Dollar/yen: UP at 105.89 yen from 105.37 yen 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3370 from $1.3353

Euro/pound: UP at 89.26 pence from 89.16 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 percent at $42.61 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.1 percent at $45.28 per barrel 

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