Bin Laden news a boost to global markets

Stock markets around the world received a boost today from the news that Osama bin Laden was dead, with the event also triggering a fall in oil prices.

Confirmation from US president Barack Obama that the world's most wanted man had been killed helped to lift markets in late trading in Asia.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was the best performer, rising by 1.6% to close above the 10,000 level for the first time since the country was struck by March's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Stock markets in Europe also rose on the news, with France's CAC 40 jumping on opening before losing some of the gains, while Germany's DAX was nearly 1% ahead at midday.

Wall Street also looked set to be boosted by events, with Dow Jones futures rising by around 90 points this morning, while the US dollar was also higher.

London's FTSE 100 was closed today for the bank holiday, while markets in China, Hong Kong and Singapore were also not trading.

Oil prices, which have been pushed up to record levels in recent weeks due to the unrest in Libya and the Middle East, fell following the announcement.

Brent crude oil was 3% lower at one stage, dropping by 4.22 US dollars to 121.67 US dollars a barrel, before recovering some ground.

There were also falls in safe haven commodities, such as gold and silver.

But analysts warned that the positive impact on the markets was likely to be short-lived, as today's news did little to change the continuing risks that fragile global economies faced.

Economists also expressed concerns that bin Laden's death could lead to revenge attacks from al Qaida.

Ben Potter, market strategist at IG Markets, said: "Markets across the globe received a bit of a boost in afternoon trade as news broke that US forces had killed Osama bin Laden.

"However, like many euphoric bounces, they are often short-lived, especially given the possibility for reprisal attacks from extremists."

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, agreed.

He said: "I personally can't see it having a lasting major impact.

"There has obviously been a near-term positive response in the markets on hopes that his death will lead to a reduction in the terrorist threat and lowering risk premia.

"But I have my doubts that there will be a lasting benefit from this - the terrorist threat is still there. And there is the very real risk that al Qaida will look to pull off something major as revenge for bin Laden's death."

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