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Saturday 22nd of November 2008
March 13, 2007

Global equities markets mostly lower on session


by Elaine Frei

Global equities markets mostly lower on session

Many Asian equities markets were lower on Tuesday. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dropped 0.56 percent to 19,333.14, while the Straits Times index in Singapore fell 0.78 percent to 3,155.9. In India, the Sensex bucked the trend, adding 0.62 percent to 12,982.98. In Japan, the Nikkei closed 0.7 percent lower to 17,178.84, while the Topix index was down 0.9 percent to 1,725.43. Exporters in Japan were hit by strength in the yen, while the steel and real estate sectors fell victim to profit-taking. Troubled broker Nikko Cordial (TYO: 8603; SGX: N06), however, saw significant gains after the Tokyo Stock Exchange chose not to delist it.

In Europe, the markets also saw declines. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 dropped 1.1 percent to 1,465.92, while the CAC 40 fell 1.15 percent to 5,432.94 and the Xetra Dax was 1.36 percent lower to 6,623.99. In Moscow, the RTS was lower, but not by much, as it dropped just 0.01 percent to 1,808.38. European banks again dropped as concerns continued about the problems in the subprime mortgage sector in the United States. Media stocks were also lower.

There were losses in London, as well, as the FTSE 100 dropped 1.16 percent to 6,161.2 and the FTSE 250 fell 1.38 percent to 11,260.90. The 250 lost 157.1 points on the day. Plumbing and building supply company Wolseley (LSE: WOS) dropped 3.9 percent on the day as it was affected by worries about the US housing market. On the other hand, Cadbury Schweppes (LSE: CBRY; NYSE: CSG) added 10.46 percent on stake building by activist investor Nelson Peltz.

On Wall Street, markets were down at early afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen by 148 points to 12,169 as all but two of its listed stocks were in negative territory. The Nasdaq Composite had dropped 34 points to 2,367, while the S&P 500 was 17 points lower to 1,389. Financial sectors were lower, while technology stocks were mixed. The retail sector declined on the news that retail sales were up just 0.1 percent in February overall; with cars and gasoline subtracted from the equation, sales were actually down by 0.3 percent in the month, the biggest decline since April 2004.

In the commodities markets, crude oil prices were a bit higher after a report from the International Energy Agency said that crude supplies would be down more in the first quarter of 2007 than they had been in 10 years among industrialized nations. Some analysts expressed concern about the report because supplies were dropping at the same time of year that prices usually rise even without tighter supplies. Gasoline futures were slightly higher after going as high as they have been since last August, and heating oil and natural gas prices were also higher. Metals prices were up early the day, with gold up on the news that gold output from South Africa was 8.9 percent lower in January than it was in the same month last year. Metals prices trended lower later in the session, however.

Among currencies, the US dollar was weaker, hurt by news that retail sales were barely up at all in January overall. The yen was stronger while the euro rose versus sterling. Sterling was weaker even though new data showed that the UK trade deficit was narrower than had been expected in January.

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