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Friday, March 20, 2009

Stock Market News, Financial News - Mar 20, 2009

Oil at $52, recoups losses after ship collision

By Chris Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil hovered above a four-month high on Friday at $52 a barrel, recouping earlier losses as the market sought a new base above $50 and after news of a ship collision in the key Strait of Hormuz shipping lane.

The market surged on Thursday to $51.61, its highest settlement since Nov. 28, after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a plan to buy long-term government debt and the dollar fell, boosting investor appetite for commodities.  (More ...)

SEBI seeks comments on derivative proposals

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's market regulator is seeking comments on recommendations to introduce over-the-counter products and mini contracts in individual stock derivatives, as well as options contracts with a tenure of three years or more.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said its Derivatives Market Review Committee also recommended that products such as options on currency futures and derivatives on volatility indexes should be considered.  (More ...)

Ashok Leyland Feb sales drop, duty cuts help

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Sales by Indian commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland Ltd in February more than halved from a year ago as a sliding economy put a brake on industrial activity and the movement of goods.

Sales of trucks and buses dived 57 percent to 3,245 units in the month, the firm said on Wednesday. But that was up a third from January after the government lowered factory gate duties.

Earlier in the week, its rival Tata Motors reported a similar trend, with sales dipping an annual 25 percent in February, recovering some ground from a sharper 43 percent contraction in the month before.  (More ...)

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ADVFN World Daily Markets Bulletin (excerpts)

US Stocks at a Glance

Major Averages Turn Mixed After Seeing Early Strength

Stocks are seeing notable uncertainty during mid-morning trading on Friday as investors react to some mixed corporate news and wait for a speech from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. The major averages have had difficulty sustaining any significant moves.

Bernanke's speech is expected to cover the financial crisis and community banking when he delivers it at the Independent Community Bankers of America's National Convention at 12 am ET.

European Shares

FTSE tracks sideways as financials cancel each other out

FTSE is tracking sideways today as a weak bank sector offsets more gains for the life insurers. HSBC and Barclays are among the worst performers after the former went ex-rights, but elsewhere in the banking sector, Lloyds is going well.

Life groups continue to tick up led by Legal & General and Prudential. The Pru is being helped by stories that its new chief executive's first job could be to break the life group up.

Asia Markets

Asian markets end mixed; financials drop on profit taking

Mixed trading was witnessed in the major markets across the Asia-Pacific region on Friday, except Japan, which is closed for a holiday, following weak cues from Wall Street, where profit taking dragged the major indices lower despite a rise in commodity, gold prices. While resource stocks advanced on higher commodity prices, investors were skeptical over the moves of the U.S Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan towards quantitative easing through printing money that might stoke inflation in the long term.

In Asian trading, crude oil was modestly lower in electronic trading, after rising $3.47 to $51.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday.

Commodities

Gold Prices Inch Lower After Huge Rally

The price of gold edged lower on Friday morning as some investors collected profits on yesterday's sharp rally. The dollar steadied against major rivals following massive losses in recent days.

April-dated gold futures fell to $50.58, down $1.03 for the session. Prices touched as low as $948.70 in the early going.

Gold soared $68.70 on Thursday amid worries of inflation after the Federal Reserve's plan to buy as much as $1.15 trillion in bonds was revealed yesterday. The rally took the metal to its best levels in almost a month.

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