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The dollar slid to a record low versus the euro after minutes of the Federal Reserve's October meeting failed to give a clear indication on the central bank's next move on rates.
Crude oil prices soared to a record $98 a barrel after rallying $3.36 on a continued weakening of the U.S. dollar.
Groundbreaking for U.S. housing rebounded in October but permits for future building hit a 14-year low, indicating the grim market for home construction will likely continue to worsen.
The Fed and financial markets remain at odds over where the economy and interest rates are heading, and fresh Fed forecasts to be released Tuesday are unlikely to bridge that gap.
Trading proved volatile in the afternoon Asia session Tuesday with markets see-sawing and in out of the black. Australia and South Korea ended lower, but a late turnaround pushed Japanese stocks out of the red with the Nikkei closing 1.1 percent higher.
Oil ended up Monday following a day of choppy trading, as traders weighed the possibility of an economic slowdown and OPEC production hikes against the potential for surprise U.S. inventory drops or an overseas supply disruption during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The dollar fell against the yen but held steady versus the euro Monday as global stock losses and high oil prices stoked uncertainty about the health of the U.S. economy and left investors wary of risky trades.
Stocks a bit weaker this morning as Lowe's joins JC Penney, Kohl's, and Ann Taylor in lowering guidance...down 4% pre-open, and Goldman downgrades Citi to a sell, saying it may have to write off $15 billion in debt losses over the next two quarters. With all that has happened to Citi, traders griping this is a little late, down 4% pre-open.
Asian markets closed mostly lower Monday with investors selling stocks on U.S. economic concerns amid a lack of market-moving factors. Japan and South Korea both finished lower after initial gains during the morning session.
China has quietly ordered banks to freeze their lending through the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, marking the latest in a series of measures to keep investment from running out of control.
Singapore's economy grew at an annualized, seasonally adjusted rate of 4.3 percent in the third quarter, well below market expectations for 6.4 percent, as a series of government cooling measures and the impact of the subprime crisis took hold.
French railway unions agreed on Sunday to talks on pension reforms, offering the first hope to thousands of commuters that an almost week-long public transport strike might ease.
Germany faces the prospect of unlimited rail strikes this week that could inflict serious damage to Europe's largest economy and even hurt neighbouring countries.
The dollar slipped on Friday, but was still on track for its biggest weekly gain in a month, with dealers wary of adding much to extended bets against the greenback with so much uncertainty surrounding the credit market.
Oil prices rose to close above $95 per barrel Friday, amid expectations that global crude supplies will remain tight, despite a U.S. oil inventory report that showed a surprising increase in domestic crude stockpiles.
Two top Federal Reserve officials on Friday suggested the U.S. economy is unlikely to need lower borrowing costs even as it navigates a possibly rocky stretch in the economy.
Chinese lunchtime television on Friday gave ordinary people a basic tip on how to play the currency markets: sell the dollar!
Stocks got a good lift on the opening despite a negative forecast from Federal Express that says more about the economy than the company. That move up, driven in part by options expirations, has faded. The energy markets are cooking and oil is rising close to $95 per barrel, ahead of the expiration of the December contract there today.
A top Federal Reserve official said it would take sharper than expected slowdown in growth to change the Fed's monetary policy stance in a Dow Jones interview released on Friday, casting doubt on market expectations for more interest rate cuts.
The mortgage crisis could have a "dramatic" impact on the economy by forcing banks and other financial firms to cut lending up to $2 trillion, a Goldman economist said.