28 Aug 2008

Wall Street limps to mixed finish

6:11 am on 28 August 2008

Wall Street shares ended mixed Tuesday as data showing a rise in consumer confidence and new home sales failed to generate enthusiasm and Federal Reserve minutes offered a downbeat economic assessment.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed a gain of 26.62 points, or 0.23%, to 11,412.87 a day after a 2.08% slide for the blue-chip index.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq fell 3.62 points (0.15%) to 2,361.97 while the broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index added 4.51 points (0.36%) to a preliminary close of 1,271.35.

The market opened weaker and then appeared to get a temporary lift from a Conference Board survey showing its consumer confidence index rose to 56.9 from 51.9 in July, a still-weak reading on the index based on a 1985 reading of 100.

A separate report showed US new home sales rose 2.4% in July from June to a pace that fell short of market expectations.

Britain and Europe

Britain's top share index fell 0.6% on Tuesday as geopolitical risks hemmed in commodity stocks but losses were limited by surprisingly strong US consumer sentiment data.

The FTSE 100 closed at 5470.7 points, down 34.9 or 0.63%.

European shares rose, wiping out half of the previous session's losses, as investors cheered robust US consumer confidence and as mobile phone maker Nokia jumped almost 3%.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed with a gain of 0.16% at 1,171.09 points, having fallen as much as 1.4% earlier on the back of a steeper-than-expected slide in German business sentiment.

In Germany, the DAX index ended at 6340.52 points, up 43.57 or 0.69%, while France's CAC-40 index closed at 4368.55 points, up 12.68 or 0.29%.

The Swiss market index closed at 7093.72 points, up 31.14 or 0.44% and in Italy the All Share Mibtel index closed at 21629 points, up 84 or 0.39%.