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While you were sleeping: BusinessWire weekend wrap

Monday 10th November 2008

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Stocks rose on Wall Street and in Europe on Friday as some investors took advantage of lower prices to add to their holdings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 2.9% to 8943.81, led by Alcoa and Exxon Mobil as the price of crude oil strengthened amid growing speculation the Federal Reserve will slash interest rates again in December.

General Motors dropped 9% after both it and Ford posted worse-than-expected quarterly losses and said they were burning through cash as a faster rate.

The automakers plan to step up efforts to cut costs and sought meetings with lawmakers to discuss their predicament. President-elect Barack Obama said on Friday that help for the US auto industry was a high priority.

Japanese rival Toyota halved its profit forecast last week and a weakening global economy eroded demand fro new cars.

The Dow's gain on Friday trimmed its slide last week to 4.1%. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 2.9% to 930.99 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 2.4% to 1647.40.

Crude oil rose as traders increased bets that the Fed will cut its target rate by 50 basis points to 0.5% on December 16 to revive growth in the world's biggest economy. There's a 99% chance of a rate cut, based on futures on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Crude oil for December delivery rose 0.4% to US$61.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Copper fell amid concern the US economy's weakness will sap demand for the metal and a report showed manufacturing growth faltered. Copper futures for December delivery fell 1.7% to US$1.697 a pound in New York.

China will spend as much as 4 trillion yuan (US$580 billion) on a fiscal stimulus plan to stoke growth in its economy. The funds will be available by the end of 2010, the State Council reported on its website.

The US dollar fell against the euro after US government figures showed US employers cut 240,000 jobs in October, pushing the unemployment rate to a 14-year high of 6.5%.

US President-elect Barack Obama said the US faces "the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime" and urged outgoing President George Bush and the Congress to approve an economic stimulus package.

Gains in US stocks helped limit the greenback's slide.

The euro rose to $1.2760 per dollar. The dollar strengthened to 98.23 yen.

Obama named a transitional economic team including the chief executive of Google and former government officials including ex-Federal Reserve governors and Treasury secretaries. Rahm Emanuel was confirmed as Obama's chief of staff, an appointment insiders say demonstrates he means business as Emanuel is regarded as an 'enforcer.'

Emerging economy finance ministers, meeting in Sao Paulo ahead of a November 15 heads of state summit in Washington, said they will extend measures to arrest the global slowdown, including coordinated efforts to bolster flows of trade and capital.

European shares rose, led by energy and mining companies. The FTSEurofirst 300 index gained 1.1%.

Germany's DAX 30 rose 2.6% and France's CAC 40 rose 2.4%. In London, the FTSE 100 Index advanced 2.2%, led by Legal & General, British Airways and Lloyds TSB Group.

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