Wall Street rally continues as European stocks fall back
Wall Street stocks have advanced for a fourth day ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday after absorbing more poor economic figures, while in Europe markets fell as the EU unveiled a €200 billion stimulus proposal.
Investors chased US technology stocks as they fell to near their cheapest levels on record, Apple and Microsoft led computer companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index higher as the group traded for 12.8 times reported earnings. The S&P 500 is poised to post its longest streak of gains since May.
The main Dow Jones index rose 90.48 points, or 1.1%, to 8569.95 as General Motors rallied 40% on news it will make its case for federal bailout funds after the Thanksgiving holiday.
After announcements that in October US consumer spending fell 1% , the largest decline since September 2001, and new orders of durable goods fell 6.25%, investors were buoyed that President-elect Barack Obama had picked former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker to head an economic advisory board. Mr Obama says that growth plan will be implemented on “day one” of his administration on January 20,
Most European stocks fell, led by consumer-goods companies and utilities. Six stocks retreated for every five that rose in the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index. National benchmark indexes declined in 12 of the 18 markets in western Europe.
UK stocks dropped for the first time in three days, led by energy stocks on concern about lower oil prices, The benchmark FTSE 100 Index closed 18.56 points, or 0.4%, at 4152.69, bringing this year’s loss to 36%.
France's Cac 40 sank 1.2%, while Germany's Dax was little changed. Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei index fell 110.71 points, or 1.33%, to 8213.22.
In other overnight developments:
• The European Union is coordinating a €200 billion stimulus proposal to which individual countries will contribute €170 billion, equivalent to 1.5% of the 27-nation group’s gross domestic product. And
• US orders for durable goods slid 6.2% last month after a 0.2% drop in September, well above expectations. Americans also cut spending 1% in October, the biggest drop since the last recession in 2001.
• Germany’s Daimler, the world’s second- largest maker of luxury cars, says the sale of its remaining 20% stake in Chrysler has been made more difficult by the “exaggerated demands” of 80% owner Cerberus Capital Management.
• UK gross domestic product dropped 0.5% from the second quarter, the first decline in 16 years. Consumer spending dropped the most since 1995 and investment was also down.
• Retail chain Woolworths, which has 800 outlets throughout the UK, suspended trading of its shares and is reported to be on the verge of bankruptcy. Earlier, it said its stake in a video-publishing venture BBC was up for sale in a bid to avoid collapse.
• MFI Group, the company set up to enable a management buyout of UK furniture chain MFI Retail, appointed administrators after “pressure on the home market” strengthened in recent weeks.
• China's central bank says it will lower its key one-year lending rate by 108 basis points to 5.58%, the biggest cut in 11 years. The World Bank forecast China's economy, the biggest contributor to global growth, will expand at the slowest pace in almost two decades next year,