Weekend markets: Wall Street ends weaker
Stocks on Wall Street ended another choppy week lower as investors continued worrying about a potential global recession and the health of the European banking system.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 172.93 points, or 1.57%, at 10,817.65. The index swung 285 points from its session highs to the lows. This followed a drop of 419.63 points on Thursday.
It is now down 11% for the month of August and 6.6% for the year.
Hewlett-Packard was by far the Dow's biggest decliner as the stock tumbled to a six-year low. Investors fretted about the world's largest personal-computer maker's extensive plans to reshape its business model.
Shares dropped $US5.91, or 20%, to $US23.60. The stock took 45 points off the price-weighted Dow.
IBM slumped 3.8% and together they accounted for more than half of the Dow's declines.
The S&P 500 index dropped 1.5%, to 1123.53, led lower by technology and financial stocks. All 10 of the S&P 500's sectors closed in negative territory. It has tumbled 16% over four weeks.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 1.62%, to 2341.84. It is down 18% over the past four weeks and off 12% for the year.
Other markets: Banks fare worst in Europe, Asia down
European bank stocks suffered steep declines, leaving even strong banks such as Deutsche Bank and Barclays down 30% or more so far this month.
Friday's unease was fuelled partly by the Swiss National Bank's disclosure that it turned to the USFederal Reserve last week for $US200 million of short-term funding.
The move was made on behalf of an unidentified bank, causing investors to speculate about a cash shortage.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 1.6% to end the week at 223.13. It dropped 6% over the five sessions.
German shares continued to be hit particularly hard. The DAX 30 index, which is heavily weighted to banks, dropped 2.2% to 5480.00. Losses reached 8.6% for the week and 23% for August.
In London, Lloyds Banking Group dropped 4.8% and those of Royal Bank of Scotland Group sank 4.4%. The losses weighed on the FTSE 100 index, which fell 1% to 5040.76.
BNP Paribas fell 4.3% in Paris, pressuring the CAC 40 index, which finished down 1.9% at 3016.99.
UniCredit declined 5.8% in Milan and Banco Santander fell 3.1% in Madrid.
Korea led hefty losses across Asia, with growth-oriented shipbuilders, exporters and financials among the hardest-hit companies.
The Kospi sank 6.2% to 1744.88, its worst one-day percentage loss since a 6.7% plunge on November 20, 2008.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 3.1% to 19,399.92, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average lost 2.5% to finish at 8719.24, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 3.5% to 4101.9, Taiwan's Taiex sank 3.6% to 7342.96 and India's Sensex fell 2% to 16141.67.
Commodities: Oil steady, gold hits new high
Crude futures settled nearly flat, pausing after steep drops earlier this week as traders weighed the threat of an economic slowdown against persistent oil demand.
Light, sweet crude for September delivery eased 12USc, or 0.2%, to $US82.26 a barrel in New York. During the session prices dip as low as $US79.17.
Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange closed $US1.76 higher at $US108.75 a barrel.
Gold catapulted to another record as equity markets fell.
The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, settled $US30.20, or 1.7%, higher at a record $US1,852.20 an ounce in New York. It was the ninth record settlement this month.
Thinly traded August-delivery gold rose $US30, or 1.7%, to finish at $US1848.90 an ounce, also a record. It gained $US108.70 this week.
Currencies: US dollar falls against yen
The US dollar fell to a record low of ¥75.94 before clawing back most of those losses. It ended the week at ¥76.51 from ¥76.58 late on Thursday.
The dollar also weakened against the Swiss franc as well despite its central bank is also looming over the currency market with the possible threat of action. It ended at 0.7861 franc from 0.7942 franc.
The euro was at $US1.4392 from $US1.4333 and at ¥110.11 from ¥109.75. The UK pound fetched $US1.6470 from $US1.6513.