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  1. #91
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    Post Sarkozy and Merkel push tax plan, closer economic coordination

    (Reuters) - The leaders of France and Germany, under pressure to counter a debt market crisis in Europe, have agreed to float proposals in September for a tax on financial transactions and push for closer joint governance of economic policy, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday.

    After talks in Paris, Sarkozy said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were also proposing that all 17 euro zone countries commit to balanced finances and write that goal into their constitutional law by summer 2012.

    Among other measures announced, he said they would also seek to ensure better cross-border economic government for the euro zone via twice-yearly meetings of leaders and the creation of a two-and-a-half-year presidency to steer this forum.

    "We want to express our absolute will to defend the euro and assume Germany and France's particular responsibilities in Europe and to have on all of these subjects a complete unity of views," Sarkozy told a news conference at his Elysee Palace offices, where he was flanked by Merkel.

    The two are under pressure to come up with plans to shore up the euro zone and restore financial market confidence after a year and a half of turmoil that has refused to die down despite bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal and the creation of an anti-contagion fund.

  2. #92
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    Post Asian shares fall, euro shaky after summit let-down

    (Reuters) - Japanese shares fell on Wednesday, dragged down mainly by hi-tech firms, while the euro wobbled after French and German leaders failed to deliver a solution to the euro zone debt crisis and restore investor confidence after a global market rout.

    Electronics stocks were weak across Asia after computer maker Dell slashed its 2012 sales forecast late on Tuesday, a deeply bearish signal not only for the shaky state of

    global demand but for other hi-tech manufacturers, many of which are listed in Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei.

    Japan's Nikkei fell 1 percent, with bellwether tech exporter Sony sliding 2.7 percent after it cut the price of its Playstation 3 gaming console to boost sales.

    In South Korea, LG Electronics tumbled 4.5 percent, though the benchmark KOSPI stock index was little changed.

    Adding to the cautious mood in Asia, S&P stock futures fell almost half a percent, extending losses on Wall Street overnight.

    "Investors have been dumping emerging markets stocks across the board for the first time in the post-Lehman era," said a market report from TrimTabs Investment Research. "Investors are selling Asia without discrimination."

    The euro fell to $1.4370 from Tuesday's session high of around $1.4470, as traders expected more downward pressure once markets in Europe open later in the day.

    A hotly anticipated meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel fell short of producing a plan of dramatic action to tackle the euro zone's debt crisis, an outcome many market watchers had anticipated.

    While long-term deficit reduction has become a pressing problem for many developed economies, many investors fear that calls for immediate spending cuts in many euro zone countries and the United States could retard global growth further.

    Germany reported on Tuesday that its economy came close to stalling in the second quarter, though other data showed U.S. industrial output rose at its fasted pace in seven months in July, perhaps indicating the economy started the second half of the year on better footing than many analysts had feared.


    Still, many fund managers see Asian markets as more promising investment targets than the United States and Europe.

    "Asia is not immune to the developed world woes, as the region remains a key exporter," said a survey of investment managers published on Wednesday by Singapore-based Russell Investments.

    "However, the domestic story is becoming more and more powerful as countries look inward to drive future growth."

    MSCI's broadest index of non-Japanese Asia Pacific shares edged higher, supported by gains in Hong Kong and Australia.

    The index has lost around 10 percent since the start of the year, much of it in recent weeks, as sovereign debt problems in Europe and the United States and fears that the U.S. could slide back into recession prompted investors to sell equities and other riskier assets in both emerging and developed markets.

    Shares in Hong Kong were boosted by a speech by Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang in which he promised to open more sectors for investment from Hong Kong, while a rise in Australia's main index was tempered by global concerns.


    The dollar index against major currencies rose 0.1 percent. Against the yen, the dollar traded around 76.76, down from more than 80 yen earlier in August.

    Gold, attractive to some investors as a refuge from turmoil in currencies, bonds and shares, is one of the best-performing assets this year. It traded at $1,785 per ounce on Wednesday, little changed from the previous session around $30 below the peak it touched last week.

    U.S. crude oil futures were up 11 cents to $86.75 per barrel after sliding on Tuesday on worries that flagging global growth will dampen energy demand.

  3. #93
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    Post Brent crude rises, above $109 on U.S. gasoline draw

    (Reuters) - Brent crude rose on Wednesday, staying above $109 a barrel as a larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. gasoline stocks and positive U.S. economic data trumped concerns over the euro zone debt crisis.

    A meeting between French and German leaders didn't result in any concrete measures to try and find a way out of Europe's sovereign debt problems, but better-than-expected U.S. industrial production numbers helped bolster sentiment.

    Brent crude for October rose 55 cents to $109.68 by 0455 GMT. U.S. crude was up 78 cents at $87.41 a barrel, after slipping $1.23 on Tuesday to settle at $86.65.

    "The meeting between Sarkozy and Merkel didn't amount to too much and that will cap gains in oil futures," said Victor Shum, an analyst with energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed a tax on financial transactions and closer joint governance of economic policy, but did not propose increasing the euro zone bailout fund or selling euro zone bonds.

    Asian shares fell on Wednesday and the euro wobbled after the meeting, while safe-haven asset gold held steady near a record high.

    U.S. stockpiles of gasoline fell 5.4 million barrels in the week to August 12, well above analyst expectations for a 1.3 million barrel draw, data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday. <API/S> The U.S. Department of Energy will release inventory data later on Wednesday.

    "The API numbers were quite supportive as gasoline supplies have come down, but risks continue to be on the economic front," said Shum.


    Concerns about the debt crisis have weighed on oil markets in recent weeks, adding to worries about weak U.S. economic data that could hit fuel demand.

    The euro zone economy slowed sharply in the second quarter, hobbled by sluggish growth in Germany and stagnation in France, raising fears of a longer-term dip.

    There was more upbeat data out of the U.S., with industrial output at the world's top oil consumer recording its best gain in seven months in July.

    Also boosting sentiment were comments by China's top state planner on Wednesday that the world's second-largest economy is expected to expand by 7 percent annually over the next five years.

    Brent crude may end its rebound at around $109.57 a barrel, while U.S. oil is unlikely to reach $90 per barrel as it faces a strong resistance at $88.17, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

    The conflict in Libya and Syria could further disrupt supplies and support oil prices, analysts said.

    "The scale of disruption to Syrian oil production remains unclear, but Syria is reportedly importing gasoline from companies operating in the Mediterranean despite the existing sanctions," said analysts at J.P. Morgan in a report on Tuesday.

    "As highlighted by recent statements by the US, even tougher sanctions may be required to limit Syria's ability to participate in the oil market."

    Syrian tanks fired on low-income Sunni Muslim districts in the port city of Latakia on Tuesday, the fourth day of an assault which has killed 36 people and forced thousands of Palestinian refugees to flee, activists said on Tuesday.

  4. #94
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    Post Swiss National Bank intensifies measures against strong Swiss franc

    The measures taken thus far by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) against the strength of the
    Swiss franc are having an impact. Nevertheless, the Swiss franc remains massively
    overvalued. The SNB has therefore decided to expand again significantly the supply of
    liquidity to the Swiss franc money market. In so doing, it is increasing the downward
    pressure on money market interest rates with a view to further weakening the Swiss franc
    exchange rate. With immediate effect, it aims to expand banks’ sight deposits at the SNB
    further, from CHF 120 billion to CHF 200 billion. In order to achieve this new target level
    as quickly as possible, it will continue to repurchase outstanding SNB Bills and to employ
    foreign exchange swaps. Furthermore, the SNB reiterates that it will, if necessary, take
    further measures against the strength of the Swiss franc

  5. #95
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    Post Asian stocks slide, Swiss franc falls

    (Reuters) - European shares looked set to follow Asia lower on Thursday as investors in that region locked in profits on worries about faltering global demand, while the Swiss franc fell sharply on speculation the Swiss central bank was intervening in the forwards market.

    Commodity and technology shares dragged the region's shares lower as investors skimmed off some of this week's gains amid lingering worries on the outlook for the U.S. economy and euro zone debt.

    European stocks were set to track their Asian peers lower, with Germany's DAX seen opening as much as 1.7 percent lower by financial bookmakers.

    Underscoring the cautious mood in Asia, S&P stock futures lost 0.82 percent.

    With market sentiment still fragile, investors will closely watch a flurry of U.S. economic data later in the day including weekly jobless claims, existing home sales and business conditions in the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Investors' demand for safe-havens has remained so strong that an announcement by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) on Wednesday that it would expand its liquidity policy failed to bring down the franc as markets had expected more radical measures such as an exchange rate peg.

    "What drove the Swiss stronger is less speculation and more fear of things going wrong in the euro zone. Until that's fixed, it's very difficult to see how the SNB can win," said Rob Ryan, FX strategist at BNP Paribas in Singapore.

    The SNB has been adding billions of francs in additional liquidity, pushing short-term interest rates down via the forwards. Its actions have pulled rates into negative territory.

    On Thursday, traders cited talk that the SNB was at it again, flooding the market with liquidity.

    The dollar traded at 0.7969 Swiss francs, still below a two-week high on Wednesday around 0.8011, while the euro stood at 1.1455 francs, down from Wednesday's peak around 1.1554.

    Markets are a lot calmer compared with last week, when a crisis of confidence swept through global financial markets after Standard & Poor's cut the United States triple-A credit rating, pushing investors into safe havens such as gold and the Swiss franc.

    John Woods, chief investment strategist at Citi in Hongkong, told Reuters Insider that a strong gap has begun to emerge in the market performance of export-oriented Asian countries such as Taiwan compared to markets that are driven by domestic demand like China or Indonesia.

    "I suspect there will be an outperformance both in terms of equities and currency of the more inward, domestically oriented countries," he said.


    "The mood has improved over the past week from sheer panic to a more garden-variety uncertainty about the future," said Bricklin Dwyer, economist at BNP Paribas.

    Japan's Nikkei stock average slipped 1.2 percent, while stocks elsewhere in Asia as measured by MSCI fell 1.3 percent.

    Taiwan's tech-heavy index lost 2 percent, making it the biggest loser in the region's major markets, tracking a fall in U.S. tech shares on Wednesday after Dell's disappointing sales outlook heightened worries about the economic growth outlook.

    Meanwhile, gold traded at $1,790 an ounce, holding not far from a record high around $1,813.79 set last week. U.S. crude was a touch softer at $87.16 a barrel.

    The dollar continued its gradual decline against the yen, slipping to 76.65 yen, well off a high above 80.00 set earlier this month after Japanese authorities intervened to weaken the yen.

    Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Thursday he will closely watch market moves, when asked by reporters about the yen's strengthening against the dollar overnight.

    "The Bank of Japan is caught between a rock and a hard place," said Jessica Hoversen, FX analyst at MF Global in New York. "Intervention did not work earlier this month, but investors also do not want to be caught on the wrong side."

  6. #96
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    Post Bank of China says confident U.S. can deal with debt woes

    (Reuters) - The head of Bank of China, the country's biggest foreign exchange bank, said on Friday he was concerned about the debt crisis in the United States but expected Washington to deal with the issue.

    "We are a little concerned, but we are confident that the U.S. government should be able to solve this problem," said bank president Li Lihui, when asked whether he was concerned about the stability of the dollar and the U.S. debt situation.

    Li told reporters at a business roundtable.

  7. #97
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    Post Global stocks extend rout, gold soars

    (Reuters) - A selloff in global stocks gathered pace on Friday, reflecting mounting concerns the U.S. economy is heading into another recession and as some European lenders faced a short-term funding crunch, highlighting the risk of a banking crisis.

    Nervous investors fled to the safety of core government bonds, Swiss francs and gold, which hit a record high, with many seeking to unwind holdings of riskier assets such as stocks, commodities and higher-yielding currencies before the weekend.

    European shares extended steep losses from Thursday, when they suffered their biggest daily slide in 2-1/2 years, with key indexes in Britain, France and Germany deep in the red.

    U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply weaker open for equities on Wall Street, a day after the Nasdaq shed more than 5 percent and the S&P 500 tumbled 4.5 percent on rising recession fears.

    Futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 were down by between 1.4 and 1.5 percent.

    A short selling ban imposed on financial stocks by some European stock markets last week has had little impact. Shares in Europe's biggest banks fell to their lowest in more than two years on funding fears, taking the weekly fall to near 10 percent and leaving the battered sector on course for a fourth straight week of declines.

    "There has been a panic about European banks. European governments are guaranteeing European banks, but if the governments are not stable themselves, that means the banks aren't stable," said Lothario Mendel, chief investment officer at Octopus Investments, which manages $4 billion.

    Worries about a European banking crisis kept the euro under pressure and it was last down 0.1 percent against the dollar at $1.4310.

    The MSCI world equity index was down 1.4 percent. It has matched the losses in European stocks since the start of the month, with $1.4 trillion being wiped off valuations on Thursday and early on Friday -- equivalent to the size of the Spanish economy.

    "At the moment the market is just looking for relative safe havens," said Mitsui Precious Metals analyst David Jollie. "You can see that in the selloffs across equity markets. The strength of gold is the other side of the coin from that."

    Exane BNP Paribas, in a note, said a global recession was far from priced in by financial markets. Another global slump could see corporate earnings plunge 35 percent from peak to trough, implying a 50 percent cut to consensus earnings per share estimates.

    The sharp decline in stock markets is expected to have an adverse impact on household wealth, further undermining consumer confidence and demand in coming months. Heightened uncertainty over growth could also see producers delaying decision-making, hitting global output.

    Those concerns are likely to see investors cut exposure to stocks, metals and oil, and growth-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar in the coming days, unless the U.S. Federal Reserve signals more quantitative easing or European politicians take decisive actions to stem contagion risk from the euro zone debt crisis.


    While investors fled stocks, spot gold hit a record high of $1,867.30 an ounce, putting it on track for the largest weekly gains since February 2009. The metal has rallied nearly 14 percent so far this month -- its best month since September 1999 -- benefiting from a deluge of safe-haven flows.

    Oil prices fell, with Brent crude extending losses on renewed expectations of weak demand from the world's top oil consumer after a slew of lackluster U.S. data.

    Brent fell as low as $105.06 a barrel, and has lost more than 9 percent this month, the worst slide since a near 15 percent drop in May 2010.

    A string of data on Thursday revived concerns the United States could be heading for another recession, led by a sharp drop in factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region to its lowest level since March 2009, which stunned investors.

    An unexpected fall in existing U.S. home sales in July and a bigger-than-expected rise in new claims for jobless benefits in the latest week also added to a fresh bout of risk aversion.

    Renewed fears that the euro zone debt crisis could engulf the region's financial system put pressure on short-term funding markets, forcing some European banks to pay higher rates for dollar loans and reviving memories of the dark days of late 2009 after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

    German Bund futures fell, but were still in sight of record highs as worries over a global slowdown and the euro zone debt crisis provided underlying support.

  8. #98
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    Post Gold soars to record near $1,900 on econ woes

    (Reuters) - Spot gold surged more than 1 percent to a third consecutive all-time high on Monday, as investors fled to the safety of bullion amid fears of another U.S. recession and the euro zone's debt crisis.

    Spot gold struck a record at $1,888.90 an ounce, after staging its biggest weekly gain in 2- years last week. It traded at $1,888.76 by 2:40 a.m. EDT.

    U.S. gold jumped more than 2 percent to an unprecedented $1,895.3.

    A murky economic outlook given a persistent flow of weak macro data out of the United States and fears about the euro zone's fiscal health have propelled gold up by more than a quarter since July.

    "We are not expecting anything supporting the U.S. economy or the macro data for at least a couple of months," said Tom Price, Global Commodity Analyst at UBS.

    "Europe we regard as even weaker. We are thinking $1,900-$2,000 over a very short period of time is a likely target."

    Investors are waiting for signs of further stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve when bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, late this week, one year after Chairman Ben Bernanke launched a second round of quantitative easing to revive the economy.

    Additional bond purchase by the Fed could raise the inflation outlook and further boost gold, but many view the chances of a third round of quantitative easing as limited and expect the Fed to take gradual measures to boost the economy.

    Technical analysis suggested that gold could pierce through $1,900 over the day, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.

    Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose to 1,290.762 tonnes by August 21, the highest in a week and half.

    But speculators scaled back their bullish bets in U.S. gold futures and options for a second week last week, as bullion's rapid rally prompted some investors to liquidate positions, data showed.

    "Key resistance in gold will be found at $1,946. However, the market may need an extraordinary event to take it above that level," said MF Global in a research note.

    Other precious metals tracked gold's strength.

    Spot silver rose as much as 2.5 percent to a three-month high of $43.93, extending a 10-percent rise last week -- its best week since December.

    Spot platinum hit a three-year high of $1,890.25, on course for its 10th consecutive session of rise.

  9. #99
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    Post Wall Street rallies after four weeks of losses

    (Reuters) - Stocks surged more than 1 percent in early trading on Monday following four weeks of equity losses as stocks rebounded globally.

    Equities have been pressured of late by growing concerns about the economy, given a string of weak economic data and the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

    European stocks gained 2.1 percent, while the MSCI world equity index rose 0.3 percent. .EU

    "Recent data has been inconclusive about whether we're going into recession, so the market bounces back and forth daily based on mood swings," said Andrew Slimmon, managing director of global investment solutions at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Chicago.

    "However, with interest rates being where they are, stocks are very cheap, and that's a very powerful and positive indicator."

    The Dow Jones industrial average markets/index?symbol=us%21dji">.DJI jumped 176.15 points, or 1.63 percent, at 10,993.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 19.92 points, or 1.77 percent, at 1,143.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC advanced 47.32 points, or 2.02 percent, at 2,389.16.

    The S&P has fallen more than 13 percent so far in August, with volatility driving the index down at least 4 percent for six days over the past two weeks. Some investors believe the speed and size of the drops suggested the market could be oversold. The CBOE Volatility index .VIX sank 5.2 percent but remained at elevated levels.

    Investors looked ahead to a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday at the central bank's annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

    Some investors hope the Fed will announce new stimulus after the central bank promised earlier this month to keep interest rates near zero for at least two more years, and said it would consider further steps to help growth.

    "It's certainly possible that we could see more stimulus, but my worry is that as the week progresses, expectations will be built into the market that could lead to our having another decline if nothing is announced," Slimmon said.

    U.S. crude futures rose 2.3 percent on a rebound in equities, and helped lift the S&P energy index .GSPE by 1.2 percent.

    But Brent crude fell 1 percent, on expectations Libyan oil exports might resume after the civil war ends. Libyan rebels swept into the heart of Tripoli and met scattered resistance.

    Tensions in the Middle East and a spike in oil prices contributed to equity weakness earlier this year.

    About 45,000 striking Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) employees were set to go back to work on Tuesday after the company and unions agreed to resume bargaining. Shares of the Dow component rose 1.1 percent to $35.11.

  10. #100
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    Post German and Chinese data lift world stocks, euro

    (Reuters) - World stocks, the euro and commodity prices advanced on Tuesday after gauges of Chinese and German manufacturing activity were not as weak as some had feared.

    Investors took heart from the flash purchasing managers' indexes from Germany and China, which, although showing the factory sector was likely to slow, indicated the motors of the global economy in recent years were still growing robustly.

    "Any data that just hints that the world is not ending is going to be well received by the markets," Ian Richards, European equity strategist at RBS, said.

    Financial markets have stabilized in the past two sessions after two weeks of turmoil which reignited fears of a new crash to match that of 2008.

    World stocks measured by MSCI All-Country World Index advanced 1 percent, though the benchmark is still down more than 12 percent this month.

    Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.8 percent, extending the previous session's 0.8 percent rise, while Tokyo's Nikkei average ended 1.2 percent higher.

    Some investors were also hoping the U.S. Federal Reserve would flag further stimulus when central bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, late this week, a year after Chairman Ben Bernanke launched a second round of government bond buying program, known as quantitative easing, to revive the economy.

    "There is also the fact that much of the gains being seen here seem to be coming off the expectation that the Fed will serve up further stimulus measures, possibly as soon as the end of this week," said Cameron Peacock, market analyst at IG Markets.

    "Clearly with this being priced in, failure to deliver here will see traders heading for the exits once again."

    For now investors seemed to be happy chasing riskier assets after recent sell-off on worries over global economic growth and the euro zone sovereign debt crisis.

    The euro was up 0.5 percent at $1.4436 on Tuesday, while the Australian dollar edged 0.9 percent higher to $1.0491.

    The dollar was down 0.2 percent at 76.66 yen, still holding above record low of 75.94 yen struck late last week as market players were wary of any yen-selling intervention by Japanese authorities.

    Copper gained 1.4 percent to trade above $8,800 a tonne, and crude prices rose 0.5 percent to below $109 a barrel as fighting in Libya continued and in anticipation of a fall in U.S. crude stockpiles.

    Nevertheless, gold struck another record high above $1,910 an ounce before slipping 0.7 percent to below $1,900.

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