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Saturday 22nd of November 2008
May 2, 2007

Equities markets gain; oil prices decline on US inventories figures


by Elaine Frei
Equities markets gain; oil prices decline on US inventories figures

Asian and Pacific equities markets were higher on Wednesday, with the Sydney markets setting new records at the close in Australia. The S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.5 percent to 6,237.7, while the Sydney Ordinaries added 1.37 percent to 6,224.5 on the session. Elsewhere, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.1 percent to 20,338.49, while in Singapore the Straits Times Index was 1.07 percent higher to 3,417.81. The Sensex was closed for the Buddha Purnima holiday. The Tokyo markets were higher on the session although trade was slow ahead of holidays on Thursday and Friday. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.69 percent to 17,394.92, while the Topix index added 0.65 percent to 1,704.22.

In Europe, equities markets gained as investors returned from yesterday’s May Day holiday. The Eurofirst 300 added 0.52 percent to 1,577.11, while the Xetra Dax was 0.64 percent higher to 7,455.92 in Frankfurt and the CAC-40 in Paris gained 0.5 percent to 5,990.13. The London markets also saw gains, with the FTSE 100 adding 1.02 percent to 6,485.1 and the FTSE 250 up 0.91 percent to 12,019.

The New York markets were higher at midday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 0.6 percent to 13,216.02, down from a new record high of 13.228.78 earlier in the day. The Nasdaq Composite was 0.9 percent higher to 2,554.63, while the S&P 500 had gained 0.65 percent to 1,495.89.

Crude oil prices fell after the latest US inventory reports showed that stockpiles of crude grew by 1.1 percent last week. The price of gold fell on the session, but base metals prices were higher.

The US dollar strengthened on unexpectedly good results from the April US manufacturing survey. Elsewhere, sterling was weaker on the session on fewer mortgage approvals in March than had been expected.

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