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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Economy fear hits stocks and oil again ]

Economy fear hits stocks and oil again

Economy fear hits stocks and oil again
January 12, 2009 - By Jeremy Gaunt (Reuters)

Equities kicked off the week on a down note and the euro fell on Monday with recurrent worries about the global economy pushing investors away from riskier assets and also driving oil below $40 a barrel.

Friday's December U.S. payrolls report, which showed more than half a million jobs lost and the highest unemployment rate since 1993, aggravated anxiety about U.S. consumer demand.

"The negativity still sits in the market, nothing's really changed in 2009," said Dominic Vaughan, senior dealer at CMC Markets in Australia. "In the next three to six months we've still got difficult times ahead..."

MSCI's all-country world index was down about 0.7 percent, taking the benchmark into negative territory for the year-to-date and the fourth negative daily performance in a row.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.5 percent after losing the same on Friday.

Japan's markets were closed for a public holiday.

Focus will turn to corporate results as U.S. aluminium heavyweight Alcoa reports its earnings later in the day. Expectations for U.S. earnings are generally low.

Seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 are forecast to show a year-over-year decline in earnings, the highest number of sectors recording negative growth since eight sectors in the in Q4 2001, according to Thomson Reuters proprietary research.


FALLING DEMAND

The worries about the U.S. and global economies hit oil, which was down more than $1 barrel at around $39.40, flirting with a sustained drop below the psychologically important $40 level.

News that OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia plans to cut oil output to below its agreed target for the cartel, ongoing supply disruptions in Europe from the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute and tensions in the Middle East did little to sway the market from a focus on dwindling world-wide energy demand.

On currency markets, the yen rose broadly, hitting a one-month high against the euro.

The euro was under pressure both from economic fears and as expectations that the European Central Bank could opt for an aggressive interest rate cut later this week to shore up the euro zone's flagging economy.

"The U.S. payrolls numbers were pretty dreadful and helped underline fears that the U.S. labour market is undergoing a severe deterioration, knocking market confidence and helping to fuel yen gains," BTM-UFJ currency economist Lee Hardman.

The euro shed between 0.6 and 0.8 percent against the dollar and yen to $1.3358 and 120.34 yen. The dollar also fell against the yen, losing 0.2 percent to 90.10.

Euro zone government bonds drifted as the market braced itself for another heavy week of new bond issuance and dug in ahead of Thursday's ECB decision.

Two-year bond yields were 2 basis points higher at 1.561 percent, having touched a new low of 1.498 percent on Friday, with 10-year yields flat at 3.024 percent.


(Source: Financial Mirror, http://www.financialmirror.com/News/Cyprus_and_World_News/13476)



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