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Sunday 12th of October 2008
January 31, 2007

New York markets gain on Fed decision, other markets see declines


by Elaine Frei

In Japan on Wednesday, the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.6 percent to 17,383.42, while the Topix index fell by the same percentage to 1,721.96 as some sectors were hit by profit-taking again. Shippers were also hurt by rising oil prices, while Nikko Cordial was hit by another setback connected to continuing accounting irregularities.

In Europe, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 was also lower, falling 0.5 percent to 1,514.65. Earnings and broker comments were key to the day. The steel sector was higher on consolidation hopes after the sale of Corus while Italian banks gained, also on merger news and broker comments.

London, too was lower on the session, with the FTSE 100 0.6 percent lower to 6,203.1 and the FTSE 250 down 0.3 percent to 11,100.3 as trade volumes picked up to more than 3.5 billion shares traded. Gainers on the day included miner Kazakhmys, on the possibility of stake building in the Eurasian National Resources Corporation. Corus also gained on the day on the news that it was being bought by Tata Steel.

New York markets bucked the trend and gained ground in mid-afternoon trade after the Federal Reserve decided to keep US interest rates at 5.25 percent for the time being. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.7 percent higher to 12,607.67, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.4 percent to 2,457.81 and the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent to 1,435.04. The Dow was also helped by a better than anticipated quarterly report from Boeing. Time Warner and Eastman Kodak also issued positive reports.

In currency markets, the US dollar was lower versus the euro after the Fed’s decision, while sterling was also weaker. The Swiss franc made gains against both the greenback and the euro. The yen was also higher.

Oil prices rose early, fell right after the US Energy Information Administration issued its weekly inventories report, then were up again my mid-afternoon in New York. Crude oil and gasoline stockpiles were higher last week, but distillates were down on higher demand for heating oil as cold weather set in to the US Northeast and Midwest. Metals prices were also higher on the session.

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