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Europe, US stocks nudge higher, Asia dips into red

Latest update : 2008-12-08

European and US stocks rebounded somewhat after heavy losses on Monday amid growing concern that the global economy is facing a long and deep recession. Asia's main indices all closed down, with the Nikkei losing 6.35%.

AFP - European and US stocks rose on Tuesday in a technical rebound after very heavy losses the previous day as concerns mounted that the global economy faces a long and painful recession.
   
In London, the FTSE 100 index of leading shares closed 1.41 percent higher at 4,122.86 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 was up 2.35 percent at 3,152.90 points and in Frankfurt the DAX jumped 3.12 percent to 4,53.79 percent.
   
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 2.92 percent to 8,387.39 at 1655 GMT, coming off a horrific 679-point loss on Monday.
   
Russian stocks closed up 2.15 percent, the Spanish market won 3.81 percent and Italian stocks gained 0.95 percent.
   
Volatile trading conditions showed no signs of abating.
   
"As we are in the midst of the largest market fall since the Great Depression, it's an understatement that the outlook is extremely uncertain," said European equity strategists at JP Morgan.
   
Investors are looking to central banks this week for the latest round of action to combat the worst financial crisis since the 1930s which is threatening to plunge the global economy into recession.
   
Official data showed Tuesday that eurozone producer prices fell at their sharpest rate on record in October following another big drop in energy costs, raising the odds of a large interest rate cut for the eurozone on Thursday.
   
Analysts say the cut in the benchmark rate by the European Central Bank could be between 0.50 and 0.75 percentage points from its current 3.25 percent.
   
"We still think that interest rates (ECB) will fall to 1.5 percent next year and stay there for a prolonged period," said Ben May, European Economist at Capital Economics in London.
   
As well as the ECB rate meeting, traders were anticipating a big cut to British borrowing costs when the Bank of England gathers on Thursday.
   
A steep interest rate cut by Australia's central bank on Tuesday and fresh steps by Japan to tackle the credit crunch failed to soothe investor fears across Asia.
   
Asian trading Tuesday followed on from the sharp declines in US and European shares on Monday, which dashed hopes of a sustained recovery in prices after a strong week last week.
   
Wall Street stocks gave back most of their gains from the past week on Monday when the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 7.70 percent, the Nasdaq composite plummeted 8.95 percent and the broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index sank 8.93 percent.
   
"We believe that last week's stock rally went too far and markets were ripe for a correction," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, chief investment strategist at CFC Seymour in Hong Kong.
   
Tokyo closed down 6.35 percent on Tuesday, Hong Kong slid 5.0 percent, Seoul shed 3.3 percent and Sydney dropped 4.2.
   
Australia's central bank slashed interest rates by 100 basis points -- a larger cut than expected that dropped the official cash rate to 4.25 percent, its lowest level in more than six years.
   
But the rate cut "didn't do anything to boost the market," said CommSec market analyst Juliette Saly.
   
Japan's central bank meanwhile outlined new measures to make it easier for commercial banks to borrow money using corporate debt as collateral, aiming to unclog credit markets that are vital to the economy.
   
In the financial sector, a report in the Wall Street Journal that investment bank Goldman Sachs was likely to post a quarterly loss of as much as two billion dollars darkened the mood.
   
Goldman Sachs has so far been spared the worst of the financial crisis and avoided many of the losses incurred by its peers.
   
Investors were also keenly watching developments over the fate of the Big Three US carmakers, whose executives return to Washington this week to plead again with lawmakers for financial lifelines to help them survive.
   
Finance ministers from the 15 countries sharing the euro gave only lukewarm backing to a proposed 200-billion-euro (260 billion dollars) economic stimulus target while agreeing they needed a joint anti-recession package.

 

Date created : 2008-12-02

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