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Thursday 28th of August 2008
January 15, 2008

Wall Street sees declines in afternoon trade

by Elaine Frei
Wall Street sees declines in afternoon trade

Wall Street was much lower in afternoon trade on Tuesday after a decline in retail sales in the US in December and on bad news from the financial services sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.8 percent lower, dropping 229 points to 12,548.67. Meanwhile the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.36 percent to 2,419.63 and the S&P 500 dropped 2.17 percent to 1,385.46.

Losses in Tokyo led most markets in the Asia-Pacific region lower on the day, with many of the losses being significant. The exception came in Taiwan as the Taiex added 3.13 percent to 8,428.84, a gain of 255 points. The least of the declines came in Australia, where the S&P/ASX200 was down 0.33 percent to 5,960 and the Sydney Ordinaries fell 0.35 percent to 6,019.8. The Shanghai Composite was 0.98 percent lower to 5,443.79 while South Korea’s Kospi index dropped 1.07 percent to 1,746.95. The FTSE Straits Times Index was down 1.98 percent to 3,154.58 in Singapore, the Sensex was 2.3 percent lower to 20,251.09, and the Hang Seng index lost 630 points as it fell 2.38 percent to 25,837.78.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed below the 14,000 level for the first time in more than two years on Tuesday as Tokyo’s equities markets saw declines on a stronger yen and comments from the Bank of Japan’s governor indicating that Japan’s economy is slowing. The Nikkei dropped 0.98 percent to 13,972.63, losing 138 points on the session, while the Topix index was down 1.99 percent to 1,350.2 and the Mothers market plummeted 6.3 percent to 659.08.

Europe’s markets saw significant declines. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 fell 2.41 percent to 1,397.62. In Frankfurt, the Dax saw its biggest one-day decline in 4 months after the Zew index of investor and analyst expectations dropped to -41.6, its lowest level in 15 years and a bigger than anticipated decline. The Paris CAC-40 was down 2.83 percent to 5,250.82 while the IBEX dropped 2.85 percent to 14,020.8, a decline of 411 points. In London, the FTSE 100 lost 3.06 percent, or 190 points, to 6,025.6 while the FTSE 250 dropped 265 points, or 2.65 percent to close at 9,765.8.

Crude oil prices fell on demand worries, while base metals prices were also lower on the session. Prices for precious metals and grains were mixed.

The pound saw gains on new data showing that UK inflation remains higher than the Bank of England wants it, while both the yen and the Swiss franc strengthened in relation to the US dollar.

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