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European stock indexes closed firmly higher after a broadly positive session Thursday, with only a dip mid-session after weak U.S. jobless claims and durable goods data.
Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods unexpectedly fell again in September, raising new worries about how much harm a severe housing slump and credit crunch are causing the overall economy.
British brewer Scottish & Newcastle has rejected a 6.8 billion-pound ($14 billion) bid proposal from Denmark's Carlsberg A/S and Dutch peer Heineken, it said on Thursday.
Some positive earnings news is putting a floor under stocks but economic news and credit worries could be the ceiling. Durable goods data this morning showed signs of weakness, but new home sales rose a 4.8% to 770,000, a positive pickup after a decline in August. Forecasts were for 775,000 units.
American billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Thursday he remains negative on prospects for the U.S. dollar and that problems in the U.S. subprime mortgage sector may continue to cause problems for some time.
Asian markets finished mixed Thursday with financial stocks taking a hit while strong Chinese economic data raised investors' concern over the prospects of further monetary tightening. The Shanghai Composite sank 4.8 percent, but South Korea closed over 2 percent higher.
German business sentiment deteriorated in October as expected, pointing to a slowdown in Europe's largest economy, a closely watched survey showed on Thursday.
China's annual gross domestic product growth eased to 11.5 percent in the third quarter, but the slowdown from a 12-year high of 11.9 percent in the second quarter was not enough to dispel expectations of fresh policy curbs to stave off overheating.
South Korea's economy grew less than expected in the third quarter as companies cut investment in facilities by the most in nearly seven years in the face of an increasingly uncertain global economy, data showed on Thursday.
New Zealand's central bank held interest rates steady at 8.25 percent on Thursday, as expected, but said rising food prices and increased government spending were adding to persistent inflation pressures.
Oil closed higher Wednesday, after a sharp fall in U.S. inventories stirred up fears of a supply shortfall ahead of winter.
In their interview this morning with my colleague Dylan Ratigan, President Bush's economic advisers emphasized all that was going right with the American economy: low inflation, a strong job market, continued growth and booming exports, whether those exports are driven by a weaker dollar or not.
The United Kingdom is one of five trillion-dollar economies in western Europe. Its economic strength has allowed it to remain independent of the European Union, and public opinion polls have shown steady, substantial opposition to abandoning the pound for the euro.
South Africa is a middle-income emerging market. Natural resources are abundant; the financial, legal, communications, energy and transportation sectors are well developed; and infrastructure is modern and efficient. The stock exchange is among the ten largest in the world.
Kenya is the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa. Agricultural output was reduced by a severe drought in 1999 and 2000, and recovery has been limited by widespread governmental corruption and by low prices for several primary exports. The International Monetary Fund has repeatedly suspended loans to Kenya (in 1997, 2001, and 2006) because of corruption, but GDP grew more than 5% in 2006.
Merrill Lynch's lack of assurances and an S&P downgrade of the Wall Street broker after big losses, combined with weak housing numbers to create a bad brew for stocks.
U.S. mortgage applications barely advanced last week even as interest rates sank to their lowest levels since May, an industry group said Wednesday, largely reflecting the increasing difficulty borrowers face to obtain a loan as banks tighten lending standards.
Most of the major Asian indexes closed in the red Wednesday on reports that Merrill Lynch is expected to announce bigger-than-expected third-quarter losses. Japan, South Korea and Australia all closed lower. All three indexes fell sharply midway through the session after spending most of the morning in positive territory.
Euro zone services growth bounced back much more than expected this month after hitting a two-year low in September, but the manufacturing expansion waned further, a key survey showed on Wednesday.
Underlying inflation in Australia speeded past expectations last quarter to hit the very top of the central bank's target range, sharply lifting the risks of a hike in interest rates as early as next month.