Sponsored by: Investment Center

Something new in your business?  Click here to submit your business press release

Chamber Corner | Main Street News | Job Hunt | Classifieds | Calendar | Illinois Lottery 

World stock markets mixed as US stress tests eyed

Send a link to a friend

[April 24, 2009]  HONG KONG (AP) -- Most Asian markets dropped Friday as investors braced for news about the "stress tests" on major U.S. banks, while weak company results undercut hopes for an economic recovery. European markets opened higher.

Volumes were thin, suggesting investors are hesitant to place large bets one way or the other without clearer signs about the prospects for the economy and earnings. Crude oil prices were steady, while the dollar slid almost 1 percent against the yen and the euro.

As in the U.S., company reports in Asia sent mixed signals.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics reported a massive drop in profit that, while better than forecast, still underlined the toll slumping demand is having on the region's major companies. Top brokerage Nomura suffered one of the largest annual losses in Japanese corporate history.

RestaurantInvestors were also treading cautiously ahead of news about Washington's stress tests, which will determine whether the country's biggest banks have enough capital to withstand severe loan losses during the recession. The Federal Reserve is expected to explain its methodology for the tests on Friday and release results on May 4.

After a six-week rally, trade in many markets has turned choppy in recent days as investors swing between hope and skepticism about the economic outlook.

"The markets don't have a clear picture right now," said Castor Pang, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong. "Investors are waiting on announcements and other information to give them more direction."

Most markets seesawed before heading lower in the afternoon.

Europe fared better in early trade, with major benchmarks in Britain, France and Germany up a little more than 1 percent each.

But with U.S. stock futures mixed, Wall Street was poised for a lackluster open. Dow futures fell 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,911 while S&P 500 futures rose 0.4, or 0.1 percent, to 849.10.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average lost 139.02, or 1.6 percent, to 8,707.99, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 44.39 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,258.85 in volatile trade.

South Korea's Kospi was off 1.1 percent at 1,354.10. The Korean economy, Asia's fourth largest, narrowly avoided slipping into recession in the first quarter as government pump priming offset a slump in exports, but officials still predict a contraction for the full year.

Markets in Australia, China and Singapore also fell. But India's Sensex rose 1.6 percent to 11,304.81.

Tech stocks were battered after South Korea's Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest manufacturer of computer memory chips, said net profit plunged 72 percent in the first quarter, showing more fallout from sharply lower consumer spending worldwide. Its shares fell 5.6 percent. In Japan, chipmaker Elpida Memory tumbled almost 12 percent.

[to top of second column]


Shares in Asian automakers were also a wreck as struggling U.S. car company Chrysler rushed to devise a restructuring plan before a government deadline. The Treasury Department is preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing for the company, according to a New York Times report.

In Tokyo, Toyota shifted down a gear, falling 1.3 percent, and Nissan reversed 4.1 percent. Hyundai skidded 2.8 percent in Seoul.

Banks were a rare bright spot, with Japanese mega lender Mitsubishi UFJ up 3.4 percent. Nomura Holdings closed down 1.2 percent before announcing that it lost 709.4 billion yen ($7.3 billion) for the fiscal year.

Traders looking to the U.S. found little direction after Wall Street finished another back-and-forth session with modest gains. Bleak housing and jobs data weighing on the market before a late-session recovery.

The Dow finished up 70.49, or 0.9 percent, to 7,957.06, making up most of Wednesday's loss of 83 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8.37, or 1 percent, to 851.92.


In oil, benchmark crude for June delivery rose 31 cents to $49.93. The contract rose Thursday 77 cents to settle at $49.62.

The dollar fell to 97.02 yen from 97.85 yen. The euro gained to $1.3243 from $1.3128.

[Associated Press; By JEREMIAH MARQUEZ]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor