Asian markets mixed as US, European markets make gains

| May 18, 2007 | 0 Comments
Asian markets mixed as US, European markets make gains

Equities markets were mixed in Asia and the Pacific on Friday, with more losers than gainers on the session. Gainers included the Sensex, which added 0.03 percent to 14,303.41 in India, and the Straits Times index in Singapore, which was 0.21 percent higher, to 3,512.4. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.43 percent to 20,904.84, while the Sydney Ordinaries were down 0.79 percent to 6,319.7. The Tokyo markets were also lower, with the Nikkei 225 0.6 percent lower to 17,399.58, while the Topix index fell 0.7 percent to 1,695.69 and the Mothers market of small and mid-caps down for the its fifth straight record low of 813.18, a drop of 1.9 percent.

European markets were higher on the session. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 0.97 percent to 1,600.27, while the Paris CAC-40 gained 1.23 percent to 6,101.14 and the Xetra Dax was 1.44 percent higher to 7,607.54 in Frankfurt. The London markets were also higher, with the FTSE 100 up 0.94 percent to 6,640.9 and the FTSE 25 gaining 0.49 percent to 12,202.8.

Takeover news sent Wall Street higher in midday trade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.33 percent to 13,531.02 after going as high as 13,551.82 earlier in the session. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.21 percent to 2,544.6, while the S&P 500 was approaching record territory as it added 0.34 percent to 1,517.87.

Crude oil prices were mixed as Brent crude dropped 83 cents to fall back below $70 per barrel in London but West Texas Intermediate crude was a bit higher by early afternoon in New York. Precious metals prices were generally higher on the day but lower over the full week, while base metals prices ended the week with Friday gains.

The yen rallied early in the session after China hiked interest rates and made it easier for the renminbi to rise and fall versus the US dollar, but by midday in New York the Japanese currency had fallen back again. The US dollar was stronger during the week, while sterling weakened. Yields on US Treasury bonds were higher on gains in equities markets.

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