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Wednesday 08th of October 2008
February 14, 2008

Wall Street declines in afternoon on Bernanke comments


by Elaine Frei
Wall Street declines in afternoon on Bernanke comments

Wall Street saw declines in early afternoon trade on Thursday after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke indicated a willingness to cut interest rates more and said that the economy will be “sluggish” until later in the year. The Dow Jones Industrial average dropped 1.14 percent to 12,409.58 after Mr. Bernanke’s remarks. The Nasdaq Composite was down 1.47 percent to 2,339.09 while the S&P 500 fell 1.09 percent to 1,352.36.

Equities markets in the Asia-Pacific region were significantly higher. The Shanghai Composite was up 1.37 percent to 4,552.32. In Australia the Sydney Ordinaries added 2.37 percent to 5,748.2 and the S&P/ASX200 was 2.57 percent higher to 5,684.8. The FTSE Straits Times Index gained 3.26 percent to 3,045.59 in Singapore while the Hang Seng added 3.68 percent to 24,021.68 in Hong Kong. South Korea’s Kospi index was up 4.02 percent to 1,697.45 while Taiwan’s Taiex was 4.17 percent higher to 7,865.28 and the Sensex gained 4.82 percent to 17,766.63 in India. Tokyo’s markets soared as the Nikkei 225 added 3.66 percent to 1,332.44 while the Topix was up 4.27 percent to 13,626.45 and the Mother’s market of small and mid-caps gained 3.49 percent to 610.97.

European markets were mixed on the session. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up, but only by 0.02 percent to 1,334.52. While the CAC-40 added 0.07 percent to 4,858.65 and the IBEX gained 0.35 percent to 13,313.2, the Dax dropped 0.16 percent to 6,962.28. London’s markets were mixed as well. The FTSE 100 dropped 0.01 percent to 5,879.3 while the FTSE 250 gained 0.93 percent to 10,089.2.

Crude oil prices were higher on the session, while precious metals were mixed. Grains prices were higher in the afternoon on the Chicago Board of Trade.

The US dollar was weaker against most major currencies while the yen declined early but then made back some of its losses.

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