London, Asia markets mixed as Europe and Wall Street decline

| March 16, 2007 | 0 Comments

London, Asia markets mixed as Europe and Wall Street decline

Global equities markets were mixed but trending lower on Friday. Asian markets were mixed, while European markets were lower on the continent, and mixed in London. US markets were down in early afternoon trade.

Asian markets were largely lower, the main exception being Singapore’s Straits Times index, which added 0.64 percent to 3,068.75. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was barely lower, dropping 0.08 percent to 18,953.5, while India’s Sensex dropped 0.9 percent to 12,430.4. The markets were lower in Tokyo, with the Nikkei 225 0.7 percent lower to 16,744.14 and the Topix index down 1 percent to 1,677.06. Banks were lower on an inability to raise loan margins after interest rates went higher, while carmakers were hurt by a stronger yen.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.07 percent to 1,454.89. In Frankfurt, the Dax was 0.09 percent lower to 6,579.87, while the CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.14 percent to 5,382.16. Steel declined, while retail saw advances.

In London, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.04 percent to 6,130.6, while the FTSE 250 was 0.44 percent higher to 11,269.20. The 100 is almost 5 percent lower since global markets fell sharply on February 27. Banks were lower on continuing fears that the US subprime troubles will cause losses in the UK sector. Building materials suppliers were lower as well, as was the oil sector.

Wall Street was lower in early afternoon trade on heavy volume so far on the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.21 percent to 12,133.64, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.16 percent to 2,375 and the S&P 500 was 0.15 percent lower to 1,390.15. The Russell 2000 index of small and mid caps was down 0.43 percent to 780.22. Fears of inflation continued to be in focus, while much of the heavy trade volumes had to do with the quarterly expiration of stock index and single stock futures as well as stock index and stock options.

Crude oil prices were higher on the day, but while Brent crude added 0.3 percent on the week, West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.8 percent this week. Nymex April RBOB gasoline added 1.3 percent over the week on declining stockpiles due to soaring demand and refinery closures. Most metals prices were higher this week, but zinc only managed to end the week even.

The US dollar weakened during the week, while the yen was mixed as it dropped versus the euro but added value versus sterling and the greenback.

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