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The Independent Online

FOR THE FIFTH consecutive trading day shares retreated. Footsie ended 54.1 points off at 5,715.7; at one time it was 123.7 lower. Second and third liners were also hit. The market was pulled lower by the continuing Asian crisis and the strong pound.

The Underground strike and the World Cup helped cut trading activity. BT was one of the best performing blue chips, enjoying belated reaction to its European strategy conference on Friday. The shares rose 10.5p to 653.5p

Derek Pain, page 21


US STOCKS slumped in morning trading as tumbling Asian markets heightened investors' fears over the financial turmoil in the region.

At midday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 121.82 points, more than 1 pct, at 81713.12, as dealers rushed to cut their exposure to companies with large interests in Asia. The Far East troubles sparked a bout of safe-haven buying of US government bonds which pushed the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond to 5.61 pct.


THE Nikkei 225 Index tumbled below 15,000 and the dollar soared to an eight-year high against the yen, setting off a plunge in Asian stocks and currencies from Seoul to Singapore. "The economy's in freefall,'' said Stephen Bronte, of Stephen Bronte Partners, a Japanese equity hedge fund in Tiburon, California. The benchmark Nikkei fell 197.16 points, or 1.31 percent, to 14,825.17, its lowest since Jan. 13. The broader Topix index of all shares on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange sank 10.04 points to 1167.21.


HONG KONG'S benchmark Hang Seng posted its biggest one-day fall in five months as the weakening yen sent borrowing costs soaring. The index dropped 452.94, or 5.7 per cent, to 7,462.50.

Since May, the index has shed almost 30 per cent of its value. After the market closed yesterday, the government said the unemployment rate in May rose to a 14-year high of 4.2 per cent as the city confronts falling property prices, slumping consumer spending and an economy poised to tip into recession.


AUSTRALIAN STOCKS fell, led by commodity producers such as Broken Hill Proprietary, on concern over slumping Asian economies. Shares in AMP, Australia's largest fund manager, rose as high as A$35.988 on their first day of trading, before closing at A$23.00 - well above the minimum initial sale price to institutions of A$16 a share.

The benchmark All Ordinaries index, which won't include AMP until August, fell for the ninth day in 10, shedding 4.2 points to 2567.5. Twice as many stocks fell as rose.