Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stocks fall amid fears of recession

A gloomy warning about the US economy from the Federal Reserve sends Asian and European markets into a slump.

The Nikkei 225 index fell 180.90 points to close at 8,560.26 on Thursday as fears of a world recession grew [Reuters]

Asian and European stocks have fallen sharply after the US Federal Reserve disappointed investors with its economy-boosting plans and warned of serious downside risks amid the eurozone debt crisis.
The Tokyo stock exchange closed down 2.07 per cent on Thursday. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 180.90 points to close at 8,560.26, while the Topix index of all first-section issues lost 12.59 points or 1.66 per cent to 744.54.
The markets in Sydney fell 2.63 per cent, or 106.9 points, to 3,964.9 - its lowest in more than two years.
Hong Kong fell to 3.74 per cent in the afternoon and Shanghai was 1.76  per cent off, as uncertainty over the gloabl markets had spread across Asia.
Seijiro Takeshita, director of the securities and investment firm Mizuho International, told Al Jazeera that the "markets have looked at the negativity" in world markets.
The eurozone crisis is one of many factors which has caused uncertainty because ''there is no clarity of what is happening with eurozone", Takeshita said.
Milan's stock market opened down more than three per cent on Thursday, along with other European stock exchanges disappointed by the Federal Reserve's move.
The main FTSE Mib index opened 3.02 per cent down at 13.692 points.
Spanish prices slumped 2.43 per cent in opening trade. In the opening minutes, the Madrid stock market's IBEX 35 index of leading Spanish shares fell 199.2 points to 8,011.1.
The Fed said after a two-day policy-setting meeting that as part of a plan dubbed Operation Twist, it would shift $400bn in its shorter-term debt portfolio holdings to longer-term bonds.
The move would not involve printing any more money.
Supporters say it could lower rates and prod cash-rich banks to put their idle reserves to work. But in announcing the new measures, the Fed painted a grim picture of the US economy, struggling with slow growth, high unemployment and a depressed housing market.