BLUE CHIPS staged a modest rally towards the close but still ended the session in negative territory. Footsie, at one time off 85 points, finished down 27.3 at 5,809.7 in lacklustre, typically low-key August trading.
Second and third-line shares were also dull. Pearson, on results, rose 80p to 1,200p and oil group Lasmo, as takeover speculation returned, put on 6p to 216.5p. There was a flurry of bid excitement among second-line chemical companies.
Derek Pain, page 19
THE MARKET was lower in late morning trading on concern that Asia's economic troubles may cut into US corporate profits.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 4.89 points at 8,878.40 after falling 81 points in early trading. The broader S&P index dropped 0.41 points to 1,120.26, while the Nasdaq was down 14 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 1,858.39. Oil shares were among the big losers on fears that global economic weakness will reduce demand for fuel.
JAPANESE STOCKS fell yesterday, amid rising concerns that the new government will be unable to cure the country's economic ills. The Nikkei index fell 213.89 points, or 1.31 per cent, to 16,165.08, while the broader Topix index lost 16.8 points to 1245.24.
Banks were sharply lower, led by Sanwa Bank, which lost almost 10 per cent after a financial watchdog barred it from selling mutual funds for a year for bribing Ministry of Finance and Bank of Japan officials.
THE HONG KONG stock market took its biggest tumble in five weeks as dealers prepared for a fall in first-half profit at the banking giant HSBC.
The Hang Seng index fell 388.43 points, or 4.8 per cent, to 7,552.77, its lowest since June 16. HSBC, the London-based parent of Hong Kong's two largest banks, accounted for around half of the decline. Analysts expected a further slide today after HSBC reported a 16 per cent fall in profits.
THAI STOCKS fell yesterday, dragged down by falls in regional markets and by uncertainty over negotiations between the government and the International Monetary Fund.
The SET index lost 5.83 points, or 2.2 per cent, to 260.89, led by banking stocks. Analysts said many dealers remained on the sidelines awaiting progress in talks with the IMF over an increase in this year's budget deficit. The government wants a larger deficit to boost spending.