Friday, November 7, 2008

US, world stocks fall on bleak spending and jobs

Published: Friday November 7, 2008

Slumping retail sales, poor corporate earnings and trouble in the auto industry conspired to darken the outlook for the American economy yesterday. But investors bet that the worst was yet to come.

The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 443.48 points, bringing its total loss since Tuesday to nearly 1,000 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, a broader measure of the stock market, dropped five per cent; in two days, the S.&P. has lost nearly 10 per cent of its value.

But analysts said that investors may be selling off ahead of today’s report on the job market, which economists expect to be grim. Forecasters believe the Labour Department will report that employers cut hundreds of thousands more jobs in October, bringing the simmering problems in the labour market to a full boil.

European investors sent stocks down more sharply than their American counterparts. Stocks in London fell 5.7 per cent; Paris’ were down 6.4 per cent. The benchmark index in Germany tumbled more than seven per cent.

In Asia, where stock markets had several sessions of modest rises before the US presidential election, the Nikkei 225, Hang Seng and Kospi indexes all dropped more than 6.5 per cent, wiping out most of a recent rally.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 share average closed 6.5 per cent lower after weak US economic news on Wednesday spelled tough times for Japanese exporters.

Investors in Australia joined the retreat with the S&P/ASX 200 index down 4.3 per cent. The Kospi index in South Korea dropped 7.5 per cent.

Source: Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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