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Stocks rebound after European poll results

Most European stock markets rebounded from early tumbles in the wake of weekend election results in France and Greece.

Stocks on Wall Street also bounced back after stumbling in the morning session over concerns that Europe’s debt crisis will be extended by the voters’ decisions to reject budget-cutting policies.

But as the session came to a close, blue chip stocks dipped for the fourth consecutive day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 29.74 points, or 0.2%, at 13,008.53.

The broader S&P 500 index was more resilient, rising half a point to 1369.58, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.4 points at 2957.76.

Shares of American International Group (AIG) slumped 3% after the US government agreed to sell $US5 billion worth of stock at $US30.50 a share. That represents a 7.1% discount to Friday's closing price of $US32.83.

Other markets: Europe up, Asia down
The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.7% to close at 254.83 after being down more than 0.5% earlier.

The French CAC 40 index ended 1.7% higher at 3214.22 as the markets rethought their initially negative view of Françoise Hollande’s presidential win over Nicolas Sarkozy.

The German DAX 30 index spent most of the day in the red before ending up 0.1% at 6569.48. London's stock market was closed for a holiday.

But Greek stocks remained deep in negative territory on the inconclusive result of the country's parliamentary vote.

The leading party, which made up half of the former interim government, gained only 19% but was initially confident of putting together a new administration with other parties.

However, it failed and has handed that task to its socialist rival. Greece’s ASE Composite index sank 6.7% to 643.87, as National Bank of Greece plummeted nearly 5%.

Markets in Italy and Spain also shook off early losses to end sharply higher. The IBEX 35 index climbed 2.7% to 7063.20 in Madrid, while the FTSE MIB index bounced 2.6% to 14,275.35.

Stocks across Asia slumped, with indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia recording their biggest daily falls this year on the back of US losses on Friday and the voting in Europe.

Japan's Nikkei fell 2.8% to 9119.14, its largest percentage drop of the year, after reopening following two days of public holidays last week.
Singapore's main index slumped 2.2% to 2924.95 while Korea's Kospi was 1.6% lower at 1956.44. The Shanghai Composite bucked the trend by finishing the day flat, at 2451.95.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed 2.6% lower at 20536.65,

In Australia, the S&P ASX200 index fell 2.2% to 4301.3, its lowest level in three weeks, as upbeat retail sales led traders to back off bets that the central bank will cut interest rates in June.

Commodities: Oil, gold fall
Crude-oil futures fell to a three-month low on Monday, adding to the previous week's losses.

The June delivery contract fell 55USc to $US97.94 a barrel in New York, the lowest for a front-month contract since February 6. So far this year, prices are down 0.9%.

Gold futures settled modestly lower, pulled down by a stronger US dollar and wobbly commodity markets.

Gold for June delivery fell $US6.10, or 0.4%, to $US1639.10 an ounce in New York. Gold has ended lower in four of the past five sessions.

Currencies: Euro recovers
The euro touched its lowest level against the US dollar since January before recovering most of post-election losses.

The euro fell to $US1.2960 before rebounding to $US1.3050, putting it modestly weaker from $US1.3084 late on Friday.

The dollar traded at ¥79.88 from ¥79.84 late on Friday, while the euro was at ¥104.21 from ¥104.47.

The pound bought $US1.6188 from $US1.6150, while the dollar changed hands at 0.9206 Swiss franc from 0.9181 franc.

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