21 Oct 2009

US markets down

8:44 am on 21 October 2009

Stocks in the United States have fallen after disappointing housing statistics overshadowed company earnings.

The Commerce Department said housing starts rose by 0.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 houses, compared with a revised figure of 587,000 in August.

But the rate was still down by 28.2% on the 822,000 houses started in September 2008.

Analysts had expected a rate of more than 600,000 housing starts.

Separate figures from the Labour Department showed that producer prices fell unexpectedly by 0.6% in September. The BBC reports the fall was sparked by a drop in fuel costs during the month.

The Dow Jones Index was down about 0.7% to 10,019 on Tuesday. The Nasdaq Composite was also down 0.7% to 2159.

Earlier, the FTSE in London was down 38 points to 5243, the CAC-40 index in Paris was down 20 points to 3871 and the DAX in Frankfurt was down 40 points to 5811.

The Australian 200 Index closed at 4846.

The NZX 50 closed on Tuesday at 3252 on turnover of $55 million.

At 8.20am, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 74.67 US cents, 81.06 Australian cents, 45.7 pence, 67.86 yen and 0.5008 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 66.9.

Brent crude oil is trading at $US76.86 per barrel. Gold was trading at $US1056.40 per ounce.