BLUE CHIPS recovered most of an early fall with Footsie ending 7.2 points lower at 5,534.5.
The stock market was ruffled by worries about the Far East and another poor New York opening. General Electric Co's bid to join the European defence merger talks left its shares down 18p at 521p; British Aerospace was little changed at 501.25p. Railtrack advanced 130p to 1,531p on hopes it will play a significant role in the revamp of the London Underground. Derek Pain, page 17
STOCKS fell amid concerns that Congress will impeach US President Bill Clinton.
In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones index had fallen by nearly 1 per cent to 8,760, while the Nasdaq had dropped 1.4 per cent to 2,000. Computer stocks led the declines, with shares in Microsoft, Intel and Yahoo! all losing more than 1 per cent.
Analysts said the choppy activity was likely to increase over the week as the vote on the impeachment draws nearer.
THE NIKKEI INDEX shed 2 per cent, to close at 14,110, as the Bank of Japan's key quarterly "tankan" business survey triggered worries about Japan's business outlook.
News that the Japanese government is to nationalise the troubled Nippon Credit Bank also weighed on sentiment. The losses were led by banks, as investors fear that more ailing lenders may fail. Industrial Bank, the last of the long-term credit banks, slid 5.5 per cent, while Yasuda Trust, a trust bank, slumped by 7 per cent.
SHARES continued to struggle on concerns that the economy, which is going through its worst recession in 20 years, will slump even further.
By the close of trading, the benchmark Hang Seng index had fallen 1.3 per cent to 9,825. Hong Kong Telecommunications, the city's biggest phone company, fell nearly 3 per cent after the resignation of its chairman. Sun Hung Kai Properties, the city's largest developer, dropped 1.5 per cent.
GERMAN STOCKS pared early losses to rise for the first time in seven days, with many investors believing that the readjustment of the past week had been overdone. By the close of trading, the benchmark DAX Index had gained 0.5 per cent to 4,563.
Viag, Germany's third-largest utility, gained more than 3 per cent on speculation that it might acquire a stake in Energie Baden-Wuerttembourg, the utility company based in the South-west of the country.Reuse content