19 Jul 2008

World markets mixed after volatile week

9:51 am on 19 July 2008

United States shares closed mixed in volatile trading on Friday after Citicorp reported better-than-expected losses and Microsoft and Google issued dim outlooks.

Investors have long sought signs that Citigroup, the largest US bank by assets, may finally be ready to turn a corner. The New York bank has been one of the hardest hit in a global credit crisis.

Citigroup's $US2.5 billion loss helped financial stocks rally for a third straight session. Shares rose 7.7% to $19.35, adding more than $5 since touching $14.01 earlier in the week.

But Google and Microsoft helped drag the tech-heavy Nasdaq index down more than 1%.

Google shares posted their the biggest one-day percentage drop since the Web search company went public in 2004, after Google posted a weaker-than-expected rise in its quarterly profit. Shares slid 9.8% to close at $US481.32.

Microsoft shares declined the most in two years after the software maker's quarterly results fell short of expectations. Shares shed 6% to $US25.86.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 43.07 points, or 0.38%, to 11,489.73 at the closing bell. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 28.71 points, or 1.24% to 2,283.59, while the broad-market Standard and Poor's 500 was virtually flat, up 0.23 point 0.02% at 1,260.55.

Britain and Europe

Stocks in Britain and Europe rose as banks rebounded after better-than-expected results from Citigroup.

The FTSE 100 ended up 90.1 points, or 1.7%, at 5,376.4 points, bringing the rise for the week to 114.8 points, making this the first weekly increase in nine weeks and the end of the longest losing stretch since May 2002.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 1.56% higher at 1,164.19 points, having fluctuated between 1,133.28 and 1,163.71 during the day.

The index gained around 3.2% during the week, but has lost about 23% so far this year.

In Germany the DAX index ended at 6,382.65 points, up 111.38 or 1.78%, gaining 229.35 points since last weekend. France's CAC-40 index closed 4,299.36 points, up 73.37 or 1.74%, adding 198.72 since last Friday.

The Swiss market index closed at 6,827.31 points, up 88.15 or 1.31%, higher by 188.42 points from last week. In Italy, the All Share Mibtel index closed at 21,591 points, up 283 or 1.33%, adding 240 points during the week.

NZ and Australia

The New Zealand sharemarket closed up 29 points to 3121 on turnover of $85 million.

Telecom was up 4 cents to $3.47, Contact Energy rose 11c to $7.59 and Fletcher Building lifted 6c to $6.44.

PGG Wrightson was down 10c to $2.60, while Rakon fell 10c to $2.60 after saying it will form a joint venture with the owners of Chinese-based Timemaker Crystal Technology.

The Australian share market closed in the red despite a firmer Wall Street, with resources stocks dragging the market down and bank shares continuing to see-saw.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index shed 60.6 points or 1.24% to 4,840.4, while the broader All Ordinaries dropped 62.1 points or 1.25% to 4,915.3. At 1620 AEST, the September share price index futures contract was down 54 points to 4,837 on volume of 20,459 contracts.

At 1630 AEST, spot gold in Sydney was $US960.10, down $US3.80 per fine ounce from Thursday's close of $US963.90.

Asia markets

In Japan, the Nikkei stock average slipped 0.65% for its sixth straight week. The benchmark Nikkei closed down 84.25 points at 12,803.70. It lost 235.99 points on the week.

Hong Kong Shares ended a volatile session 0.64% higher. The Hang Seng Index closed 139.47 points higher at 21,874.19, after opening 1.3% higher. The index lost 310.36 points over the week.