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Thursday 24th of July 2008
March 26, 2008

Equities decline in Europe


by Elaine Frei
Equities decline in Europe

European markets saw declines Wednesday. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.6 percent to 1,258.44. Madrid’s IBEX was 0.23 percent lower to 13,403 while the Paris CAC-40 fell 0.33 percent to 4,676.68 and the Dax dropped 0.54 percent to 6,489.26 in Frankfurt. In London the FTSE 100 was down 0.5 percent to 5,660.4 and the FTSE 250 dropped 0.39 percent to 9,756.1.

Wall Street was lower in early afternoon trade after the Commerce Department reported that durable goods orders were down again in February, falling 1.7 percent in the month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.04 percent lower to 12,401.94 while the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 1.22 percent to 2,312.38 and the S&P 500 was down 1.02 percent to 1,339.23.

Equities markets were mixed in the Asia-Pacific region. Gainers included the Kospi index, which was up 0.28 percent to 1,679.67. The Shanghai Composite was 0.63 percent higher to 3,606.86 while the Hang Seng added 22,617.01. In Australia the S&P/ASX200 was up 1.18 percent to 5,381.4 and the Sydney Ordinaries gained 1.22 percent to 5,421.3. Among decliners on the session, the Straits Times Index was down 0.17 percent to 2,995.22 while Taiwan’s Taiex was 0.31 percent lower to 8,768.02 and the Sensex dropped 0.81 percent to 16,086.83 in India.

Tokyo’s markets were mixed amid low trading volumes. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 12,706.63 and the Topix index was down 0.44 percent to 1,237.55 while the Mothers markets added 3.37 percent to 627.55.

Crude oil prices shot higher after the US Energy Information Administration said that gasoline and distillates inventories were much lower than expected last week while crude oil stockpiles remained even. Precious metals prices were higher on declines in the dollar while grains prices were mixed.

The euro gained on the US dollar and on the pound, but declined in relation to the yen. The yen and the Swiss franc were both higher after investors began to retreat from risky carry trades.

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