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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
February 6, 2008

Hang Seng drops 1,339 points on session


by Elaine Frei
Hang Seng drops 1,339 points on session

Asia-Pacific equities markets were lower on Wednesday after news that the service sector in the United States contracted in January. India’s Sensex was down 2.81 percent to 18,139.49. In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries fell 2.98 percent to 5,677.6 and the S&P/ASX200 was 3.17 percent lower to 5,609.4. The FTSE Straits Times Index dropped 3.5 percent to 2,931.97 in Singapore while the Hang Seng plummeted 5.4 percent, a decline of 1,339 points, to 23,469.46 in Hong Kong. Markets in China, Taiwan, and South Korea were all closed for holidays.

Tokyo’s markets followed the rest of the region lower. The Nikkei 225 was down 4.7 percent to 13,099.24 while the Topix index fell 4.21 percent to 1,298.41 and the Mothers market dropped 2.73 percent to 625.33.

European markets advanced on the session. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 0.63 percnt to 1,322.66. The CAC-40 was up 0.83 to 4,816.43 in Paris, while the Dax was 1.22 percent higher to 6,847.51 in Frankfurt and Madrid’s IBEX gained 1.74 percent to 13,037.30. The markets were mixed in London, with the FTSE 100 adding 0.13 percent to 5,875.4 at the same time that the FTSE 250 dropped 0.51 percent to 9,904.5.

Wall Street closed lower on the session after comments from Federal Reserve officials led to speculation that the current round of interest rate cuts could be over. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.53 percent to 12,200.1 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.33 percent lower to 2,278.75 while the S&P 500 dropped 0.76 percent to 1,326.45.

Crude oil prices were lower after the weekly US inventories report, while precious and base metals prices rose on the session. Grains prices were mixed, with wheat up on short supplies.

The euro and the pound both weakened on the session as analysts figured that interest rates in the Eurozone and the UK could be cut soon. The Canadian dollar, however, gained on new data which indicated that its economy is strengthening.

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