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Shares end flat, closing out strong week

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stock markets around the world closed flat on Friday as early gains failed to hold through the session, though the upward trend in equities continued and Alibaba soared in its historic U.S. trading debut.

Alibaba Group (BABA.N), one of the biggest IPOs ever, ended up 38 percent at $93.89 on massive volume. However, because the Chinese online retailer’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and is not an SP 500 component, its gains were not reflected in major indexes.

The day’s early gains, which took the Dow and SP 500 to fresh records, came after Scotland voted to remain in the UK, removing the risk that independence would sow financial, economic and political uncertainty during months of negotiations.

“Theoretically we could have had a pretty ugly selloff” had the Scotland vote had gone another way, said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors, in New York. “The fact Scotland did the right thing removed that overhang from the market… the market got to focus on Alibaba, which was a positive.”

An index of European shares .FTEU3 ended up 0.25 percent, having closed before U.S. stocks gave up sharp gains on a drop in large-cap technology shares. Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) fell 2.7 percent to $40.93, while Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) lost 4.2 percent to $39.80 a day after reporting results.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 13.75 points, or 0.08 percent, to end at 17,279.74. The Standard Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was down 0.96 points, or 0.05 percent, at 2,010.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 13.64 points, or 0.30 percent, at 4,579.79.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was up 14/32, the yield at 2.5781 percent.

MSCI’s global share index .MIWD00000PUS dipped 0.16 percent but still had its fifth weekly gain in the last six, while U.S. indexes had their sixth positive week in the past seven. Equities have been boosted of late by further assurances that interest rates are likely to remain at record lows in many major economies for some time.

The dollar index .DXY, which tracks the currency against a basket of six peers, rose 0.5 percent to 84.76, near its strongest level in more than four years. The euro shed 0.7 percent to $1.2835.

Brent crude LCOc1 rose 0.6 percent to $98.27 per barrel while U.S. crude CLc1 slipped 0.5 percent to $92.60.

Traditional safe-haven gold fell 0.7 percent while silver lost 3.4 percent in its biggest one-day decline since December. Copper CMCU3 dipped 0.1 percent.

(Editing by Dan Grebler and Meredith Mazzilli)

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