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Saturday 22nd of November 2008
March 21, 2007

European markets mixed on session

by Elaine Frei
European markets mixed on session

Equities markets in Asia and the Pacific were mostly up on the session Wednesday. The major exception was in the Pacific region, in Australia, where The SP/ASX dropped 14.7 points to close at 5,861.9 and the Sydney Ordinaries fell 10.2 points to 5,846.3 on a volume of 1.74 billion shares. Elsewhere, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong added 0.82 percent to 5,846.3, while the Straits Times index in Singapore gained 1.24 percent to close at 3,155.69 and in India the Sensex was 1.89 percent higher to 12,945.88. The Tokyo markets were closed for a holiday.

In Europe, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 0.32 percent to 1,492.46, for the third day of gains in a row. Markets were mixed, however, with the Dax up 0.18 percent to 6,712.06 in Frankfurt but the CAC 40 down 0.02 percent to 5,502.18 in Paris. London markets saw gains, with the FTSE 100 0.59 percent higher to 6,256.8 and the FTSE 250 up 1.34 percent to 11,612.7.

At midday in New York, the indices were mixed ahead of the Federal Reserve’s latest decision on interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.1 percent lower to 12,275.68, but the Nasdaq had added 0.04 percent to 2,409.14 and the S&P 500 was 0.06 percent higher to 1,411.79. The Russell 2000 index of small and mid-caps was up 0.04 percent to 793.91.

In the commodities markets, the price of crude oil was slightly higher just after new data from the Energy Information Administration showed that crude oil inventories in the United States were up more than expected last week, while gasoline and distillates stockpiles dropped during the same period. Base metals prices closed lower on the London Metal Exchange.

Sterling was weaker right after the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee were released, showing that only one member of the committee voted to drop interest rates rather than the two votes that had been expected. The UK currency regained the losses later, however, to remain even versus the euro and the US dollar. The dollar was stronger versus the yen but held steady in relation to the euro.

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