European stock markets closed mixed on Friday in directionless trading, mirroring a similar trend on Wall Street, dealers said.
Investors had waited most of the day for a speech by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who had been expected to provide clues about the outlook for US interest rates -- a key concern of the market.
Speaking in the US state of Wyoming, Bernanke said that international terrorism was a threat to globalization, but made no reference to monetary policy.
On the main European markets, the London FTSE 100 index closed up 0.16 at 5,878.60 points, in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.03 percent to 5,111.13 while in Frankfurt the DAX lost 0.04 percent to close at 5,811.47 points.
The DJ Euro STOXX 50 index of leading eurozone shares fell 0.02 percent to 3,781.17 points.
US stocks held in a narrow range Friday amid a dearth of economic news, with traders seemingly unwilling to take new positions ahead of a late summer weekend.
In London, miners and banks led the FTSE 100. Britain's fifth-biggest retail bank Lloyds TSB gained 0.57 percent to ?5.26 owing to speculation that it could face a takeover bid.
Other banks gained on positive broker comments, with Barclays climbing 0.85 percent to ?6.4950 and HBOS gaining 0.69 percent to ?9.49.
Miners meanwhile gained on a rebound for commodities prices, with the share price of Anglo American progressing 0.68 percent to ?23.58.
Elsewhere in Europe, in Madrid the IBEX-35 fell 0.11 percent to 12,042.9 points, in Brussels the BEL 20 gained 0.03 percent to 3,887.71 points and in Amsterdam the AEX gained 0.30 percent to 465.14 points.
In Italy, the SP/MIB gained 0.12 percent to 37,718 points.
UNDERESTIMATED: The agency said that as its previous forecast was guided by the SARS crisis, it did not adequately account for disruptions caused by the pandemic The nation’s economy might grow just 1.67 percent this year squarely on the back of government expenditure and private investment, as exports and consumer spending have stalled, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday. The forecast is a sizeable retreat from an estimate of 2.37 percent growth made in February before the COVID-19 outbreaks became a pandemic. “The previous forecast was guided by the SARS crisis in 2003 and therefore underestimated the ongoing pandemic, which is hitting economic activity hard at home and abroad,” DGBAS Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a media briefing in Taipei. The agency now expects exports
‘SUSCEPTIBLE’: The timing of an intervention, rather than the amount of money injected to the market, is more important, the deputy minister of finance said The National Stabilization Fund would remain on stand-by to shore up the local bourse until the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided worldwide, Deputy Minister of Finance Frank Juan (阮清華) said yesterday. Although Taiwan has stopped the virus’ spread, the fund would remain active in light of fragile financial markets across the world, said Juan, the state-run fund’s executive secretary. The government activated the fund on March 20 after the TAIEX slumped from 12,000 points to 8,600 in a short period amid a panic selloff. The main board has since recovered, yesterday closing at 10,997.21 points on turnover of NT$180.767 billion (US$6.03 billion), Taiwan
‘EXTERNAL VULNERABILITY’: The city-state’s economy in the first quarter shrank 4.7 percent quarterly due to worsening external demand outlook amid the pandemic Singapore’s embattled economy could shrink by as much as 7 percent this year, which would be the worst reading since independence in 1965, with the government saying yesterday that the COVID-19 pandemic had throttled the key export sector. The Singaporean Ministry of Trade and Industry’s forecast — which was a downgrade from the 4 percent contraction predicted in March — came as official data showed that the economy shrank 0.7 percent year-on-year in the first three months of the year, while it contracted 4.7 percent from the previous quarter. The ministry said the new estimate was made “in view of the deterioration
South Korean prosecutors yesterday summoned Samsung Electronics Co vice chairman Jay Y. Lee for questioning in an investigation into alleged accounting fraud and a controversial 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, dealing another legal blow to the country’s largest corporation. While expected, the decision marked a deepening of a long-running probe into the billionaire scion and his shipbuilding-to-smartphones Samsung Group conglomerate. The company’s de facto leader was called into Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office at 8am in relation to allegations over illegal acts in succession plans, the Yonhap News Agency reported. Lee has been at the center of a years-long scandal