24 Sep 2011

Offshore markets still gloomy

11:16 am on 24 September 2011

Stocks in the United States have stopped their downward slide, despite ongoing gloom about the state of the global economy.

The Dow Jones index hovered just above the break-even mark to close up 0.3% at 10,771 points on Friday, 35 points above the previous session's close.

The Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.1% at 2483 points.

Trading was active with about 8.9 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Amex and Nasdaq, above the daily average of 7.94 billion.

However, the main indexes in Britain, France and Germany rose slightly on Friday. But the FTSE fell 3.6%, the CAC 40 shed 4.4% and the DAX lost 4% for the week.

An estimated $US1 trillion was wiped off the value of US stocks this week.

The volatility prompted the G20 to issue a statement late on Thursday reassuring that it was ready to take action to stabilise markets.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said the global economic situation was entering a dangerous place, while World Bank president Robert Zoellick said he thought the world was in a danger zone.

Gold prices slumped by more than $US100 on Friday. Spot gold was selling at $US1648 an ounce, after falling below $US1628 for a time.

Metals prices plunged across the board. Silver was down 15% to below $US35.76 per ounce.

Copper fell to $US7115.75, its lowest since August 2010.

US crude futures fell 66 cents, or 0.82%, to settle at $US79.85 per barrel. London Brent crude was off $US1.51 at $US103.98 per barrel.