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World sharemarkets recover post-tsunami losses

A 0.2% rise in the MSCI-All Countries index was the best weekly performance since December.

Nevil Gibson
Sat, 26 Mar 2011

World sharemarkets ended their best week this year and recovered the losses they posted the previous week amid Japan's post-tsunami nuclear crisis.

The MSCI-All Countries index's 0.2% rise for the week followed seven up sessions -- the best performance since December.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its sixth gain in seven sessions as it finished up 50.03 points, or 0.4%, at 12,220.59.

Shares were boosted by corporate earnings and data showing a pickup in US economic growth at the end of 2010. IBM and Chevron each gained 1.3%.

The S&P 500 index closed 4.14 points higher, or 0.3%, at 1313.80, with energy stocks in the lead. The Nasdaq Composite added 6.64 points, or 0.2%, to 2743.06.

European stocks finished slightly higher after a volatile session, with German software group SAP and French bank Crédit Agricole among the biggest blue-chip gainers.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed up 0.1% at 276.02 after swinging between gains and losses for most of the session. The index rose 3.1% for the week.

In Fankfurt, the DAX 30 index gained 0.2% to 6946.36, finishing the week with a 4.2% gain. In London, the FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% to 5900.76 and snapped a four-week losing streak with a 3.2% gain. In Paris, the CAC 40 index closed up 0.1% at 3972.38, for a weekly gain of 4.3%.

Japan rebuild boosts Asian stocks
In Asia, shares in Tokyo added to their weekly gains as hopes for reconstruction and news of resumed production at some manufacturers overrode concerns about the effects of earthquake and tsunami on corporate results.

The Nikkei Stock Average ended the week at 9536.13, with a 1.1% advance on Friday lifting its weekly gain to 3.6%. The Nikkei sank more than 10% last week on a wave of selling after the earthquake and tsunami that struck the nation on March 11.

Chinese banks rallied to boost stocks in Shanghai and Hong Kong after Bank of China reported robust results.

The Shanghai Composite index added 1.1% to 2977.81 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.1% to 23,158.67.

Korea's Kospi climbed 0.9% to 2054.04, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9% to 4742.60, Taiwan's Taiex expanded 0.4% to 8610.39 and India's Sensex rose 2.5% to 18,815.64.

Commodities: Oil up, gold down
Oil futures settled slightly weaker but held above $US105 a barrel for the third straight day as traders continued to assess how the supply-demand picture is affected by events in Libya and Japan.

The May contract settled 20USc lower at $US105.40 a barrel in New York, just 35USc below the midweek settlement that was the highest since September 2008. Prices posted the first week-on-week gain since March 4, rising $US4.33 a barrel.

The ICE North Sea Brent contract for May delivery settled down 13USc at $US115.59 a barrel, up $1.66 from a week earlier.

Gold futures continued their slump after setting record prices earlier in the week.

The most actively traded contract, for April delivery, fell $US8.70, or 0.6%, to settle at $US1426.20 an ounce in New York.

Currencies: US dollar gathers strength
The US dollar rose broadly on news that the US economy grew by a better-than-expected 3.1% in the final quarter of last year. The dollar hit its highest level against the yen since the G-7 nations intervened to weaken the yen last week.

The higher-yielding euro continued to be under pressure from Portugal's mounting economic problems.

The euro was at $1.4074 from $1.4174 late on Thursday and at ¥114.67 from ¥114.80. The dollar was at ¥81.47 from ¥80.99 and at 0.9206 Swiss franc from 0.9087 franc. The UK pound was at $US1.6019 from $US1.6104.

Nevil Gibson
Sat, 26 Mar 2011
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World sharemarkets recover post-tsunami losses