16 Aug 2008

US market flat

7:34 am on 16 August 2008

Stocks in the United States were little changed in choppy trade on Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 35.01 points, or 0.30%, at 11,650.94. Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 4.12 points, or 0.32%, at 1,297.05. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 4.37 points, or 0.18%, at 2,449.30.

Commodities markets fell, with gold sinking below $US800 an ounce as evidence mounted that slowing economic growth was hitting global demand.

US consumer sentiment improved slightly in early August, due to a drop in gasoline prices as inflation expectations improved.

European shares closed higher on Friday as oil prices continue to fall.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares provisionally closed 0.3% higher at 1,189.61 points.

Around Europe: Germany's DAX rose 0.1% and France's CAC added 0.7%.

Italian markets were closed for the Assumption Day holiday. On Thursday, the All Share Mibtel index closed at 22,104 points.

However, in Britain, The FTSE 100 fell 0.77%, or 42.6 points, to 5,454.8 points after a 0.9% rise on Thursday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose 0.48% in thin trade, adding 62.61 points to end at 13,019.41.

In Hong Kong, shares fell 1.09%. The Hang Seng Index ended down 232.13 points at 21,160.58 - its lowest level in nearly five months.

NZ & Australia

The New Zealand stockmarket had a positive day on Friday.

The NZX 50 index was up 17 points to close at 3351 on turnover of $123 million.

Telecom was down 4 cents to $3.24, Contact Energy was up 7c to $8.57 and Fletcher Building was up 25c at $6.99

Michael Hill International rose 2c to $0.89 after its annual profits rose 20%.

Steel & Tube was up 10c to $3.25 after reporting a fall in full year profit on Thursday.

New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay was down 2c to $1.78 while New Zealand Finance was unchanged at 40c after picking a lower profit for the March 2009 year.

New Zealand Oil & Gas was up 2c to $1.49.

In currency markets: the New Zealand dollar was trading at US69.69 cents, 80.67 Australian cents, 37.38 pence, 76.82 yen and 0.4719 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 65.04.

Australian stocks were up slightly. The Australian 200 index was up 2 points, to 4983.