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Thursday 28th of August 2008
August 31, 2007

Markets look to Bush, Bernanke comments

by Elaine Frei
Markets look to Bush, Bernanke comments

Global equities markets were higher on Friday in hopes that US President George W. Bush and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke would separately make remarks that would calm markets and shore up consumer confidence.

Asia-Pacific markets were higher on the session. The Shanghai Composite added 0.99 percent to 5,218.82. In Singapore, the Straits Times index gained 1.25 percent to 3,374.35, while India’s Sensex was 1.3 percent higher to 15,318.6. The Kopsi index was up 1.71 percent to 1,873.24. In Australia the Sydney Ordinaries added 1.8 percent to 6,248.3 while the S&P/ASX200 gained 1.83 percent to 6,247.2. The Hang Seng index reached a new record high when it briefly rose above the 24,000 level to 24,089 before it retreated to a close of 23,984.14, a gain of 2.13 percent on the session. In Taiwan, meanwhile, the Taiex was up 2.41 percent to 8,982.16. The Tokyo markets had the highest percentage gains in the region, with the Nikkei 225 gaining 2.57 percent to 16,569.09 and the Topix adding 2.55 percent to 1,608.25. The Mothers market saw a more modest gain of 1.87 percent to 729.66.

European markets were higher again. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.12 percent to 1,532.34. Madrid’s IBEX added 1.16 percent to 14,479.8, while the CAC-40 gained 1.25 percent to 5,662.7 and the Dax was 1.57 percent higher to 7,638.17. London also saw gains. The FTSE 100 was 1.47 percent higher to 6,303.3 and the FTSE 250 was up 1.89 percent to 11,309.2.

Wall Street was higher after Mr. Bush and Mr. Bernanke issued their remarks. In early afternoon trade the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 1.19 percent to 13,396.43, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.05 percent to 2,592.16 and the S&P 500 was 1.29 percent higher to 1,476.46.

Crude oil prices saw some gains, as did metals with the exception of aluminium. Wheat prices reached new highs again in Chicago, London and Paris.

The Japanese yen ended the session and the week higher after Mr. Bernanke’s remarks did not give any hope that US interest rates would be cut in September, while the US dollar was mixed.

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