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While you were sleeping: BusinessWire weekend wrap

Monday 22nd September 2008

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Stocks on Wall Street rounded out a two-day rebound on Friday as the US government stepped up plans to use hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars to buy up toxic assets related to mortgages.

Under the plan hatched by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, the Treasury will acquire illiquid mortgage debts in a package Bloomberg News reported as being worth US$800 billion.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index surged 4% to 1255.08 on Friday, bringing its two-day advance to 8.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.4% to 11388.44.

The US rescue plan helped lift stocks worldwide. The FTSEurofirst 300 index jumped 8.2% to 1150.78 points in a record one-day gain. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 3.8% to 11920.86 on Friday.

In other moves to contain the financial crisis, the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the UK’s Financial Services Authority imposed temporary bans on short-selling financial stocks.

The S&P 500 Financials Index surged more than 20% on Friday, with Washington Mutual soaring 42% and Citigroup gaining 24%.

Bond fell as stocks rallied. US Treasuries tumbled for a second day as some investors reversed safe-haven buying.

The yield on two-year Treasury notes jumped to 2.21% from 1.73%. Ten-year Treasuries rose 28 basis points to 3.83%.

The US dollar had its biggest gain against the yen in five months, rising to 107.42 yen in New York, from 105.44. The dollar fell to $1.4464 per euro from $1.4348.

Crude oil for October delivery rose $6.67 to $104.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures had the biggest decline in 28 years, falling as much as 7.6% on the New York Mercantile Exchange and trading at $843.20 an ounce.

Lehman Brothers, which has filed for bankruptcy, won federal court approval to sell its US business to Barclays Plc for $1.75 billion.

Meantime, Bloomberg reported that General Motors will use the remaining US$3.5 billion of a US$4.5 billion revolving credit line as the financial crisis hampers the ability of companies to borrow more.

www.businesswire.co.nz

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