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World Markets Under Pressure
added: 2008-11-24

A very big bear market bounce, relief rally, or "just get us out of here": whatever the reason, Friday's late rise on Wall Street, it will be known as the "Geithner bounce" in future years.

The market had started Friday looking to go lower, after as two day pummeling had left the Standard & Poor's 500 at an 11-year low.

But then news reports in the afternoon reported that Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, would be nominated as US Treasury secretary. He has been the point man for the Fed during the crisis from when it started in August 2007.

That appointment was confirmed yesterday and will be officially announced tonight in the US.

Lawrence Summers, a former under-Treasury Secretary under President Clinton will be a White House economic adviser. He will head the National Economic Council.

Mr Summers will advise Mr Obama from the White House and will direct the response to the financial and economic crunch across all federal agencies.

These are only people, not major economy changing events, but it does show that competence is back in vogue in Washington.

Don't expect the rebound to stick, but it does show the positives of making wise choices in Cabinet posts, especially key economy portfolios for American Presidents. The pity is that it had taken eight years to realise that.

The news of the economic team taking shape for the new Administration also provides very sharp focus for the bumbling incompetents still running US economic policy, lead by Hank Paulson who single-handedly has given us another banking crisis in the making by his decision earlier this month (the Administration's) not to buy troubled mortgage related securities, but to assist the credit card, student loan and car loan sectors.

It has allowed short felling hedge funds a field day to attack US bank shares.

The decision contributed heavily to the sell off in banking and financial stocks (like insurers) in the past week and a bit, with Citigroup leading the way: down 60% last week, 35% at one stage on Friday before the late bounce trimmed that loss to 20%.

The Dow jumped 494.13 points, or 6.54%, to 8046.42; the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 47.59 points, or 6.32%, and just made the 800 mark at 800.03. Nasdaq climbed 68.23 points, or 5.18%, to 1384.35.

It was a very different hour or so from the two previous days when the Dow lost 10.4% in Wednesday's and Thursday's sessions, its worst two-day percentage drop in over 20 years.

For the week, the Dow lost 5.3%, the S&P 500 fell 8.4%, and the Nasdaq lost 8.8%.

The dismal week capped off a historic November that is quickly becoming one of the worst months for US stocks since October 1987.

Including Friday, the S&P is down more than 17% for the month so far, the Dow is off nearly 14%, and Nasdaq is nearly 20% lower as the slump starts wreaking its damage on tech stalwarts like Dell, Intel and Google.

Investors found the news on the Geithner appointment interesting enough to set aside the uncertainty surrounding Citigroup and car giants, General Motors and Ford.

GM and Ford recovered from earlier losses to close up 6.3% at $US3.06, and 2.9% to $US1.43, respectively. Citigroup finished Friday at $US3.77. Shares hit a low of $US3.05 at one point

Wal-Mart Stores rose 4.5% to $US52.92 after the world's largest retailer surprised the market by revealing that after nine years, Lee Scott was retiring as chief executive and it named Mike Duke, who heads Wal-Mart's international operations, as his successor.

The SPI had our market up by just over 100 points today at the close Saturday morning. The Aussie dollar rose to 63.20 cents in late trading. Oil and gold were also higher. our market was down 9% last week, a big fall until Friday's small bounce

Global markets were mixed with Asian stocks ending higher and European markets ending lower.

European shares were weaker on the day and the week.

Europe's FTSE EuroFirst 300 fell 2.6% on Friday to 760.97, bringing its loss for the week to 11.5% and for the year to 49.5%. Another index, the Stoxx 600, lost 12% last week, and is now at its lowest since 2003.

London's FTSE 100 lost 10.4% over the week, Germany's Dax and France's CAC 40 lost 12% each.

Asian shares were mixed to higher on the day, and down on the week. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 6.8% over the week.

Tokyo's Nikkei dropped 6.5% after the world's second-largest economy slipped into recession for the first time since 2001.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 6.5% as the city entered its first recession since the outbreak of SARS in 2003 while Taiwan and Singapore forecast deeper contractions. All markets in the region declined this week.

December Comex gold soared $US43.10 to close at $791.80 an ounce. Our gold stocks will enjoy a nice opening off the back of that news.

US WTI for January delivery rose 51 cents to close at $US49.93 a barrel, in the first day of trading for the new contract.

Earlier WTI fell to $US48.25 dollars - the lowest in New York since May 2005.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for January rose $US1.11 dollars to end at $US49.19 dollars a barrel. Brent crude had earlier dropped to $US47.40 dollars, the lowest level since February 2005.

For the first time in three and a half years, American petrol prices fell below $US2 a gallon at the weekend, losing 3.1 cents to a national average of $1.989 a gallon; according to a survey of credit-card activity released the American Automobile Association.

US retail petrol prices have been dropping for over two months and have lost $US1.84 a gallon, or over 52%.

New York Comex copper futures fell Friday, ending the biggest weekly decline in a month.

March copper lost one cent Friday to $US1.579 a pound on Comex.

The metal's price has lost 63% from a record $US4.2605 a pound in May.

On the London Metal Exchange, three month copper rose $US60, or 1.7%, to $US3, 540 a metric ton ($US1.61 a pound).

Source: ABN Newswire

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