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While you were sleeping: BusinessWire overnight wrap

Wednesday 31st December 2008

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Stocks on Wall Street advanced as investors welcomed the federal government's US$6 billion of financial aid for GMAC, the finance unit of General Motors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3% to 8590.81 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 1.4% to 881.54.

The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.7% to 1535.81 on optimism tech stocks with strong balance sheets will survive the economic downturn. Qualcomm rose 1.6% to US$34.63 and Oracle advanced 2.9% to US$17.71.

GM jumped 4.4% to US$3.76 after the U.S. Treasury this week agreed to buy a stake in GMAC for US$5 billion and lend GM a further US$1 billion to contribute to GMAC's reorganization as a bank holding company. Ford Motor rose 1.4% to US$2.25.

The GMAC rescue helped lift automakers in Europe, with Daimler AG gaining 4.2%. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index advanced 1.8% to 196.90 and is set for its worst annual slump on record, with a 46% slide.

Germany's DAX 30 rose 2.2% to 4810.2 and has shed 40% this year. Infineon Technologies rose 16% and Deutsche Bank advanced 2%. France's CAC 40 gained 2.8% to 3217.13.

In London, the FTSE 100 Index rose for a second day, led by oil companies as the price of crude gained. The price of crude oil has since slipped. BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc rose more than 1%.

The FTSE 100 gained 1.7% to 4392.68 heading into the end of a year when it dropped 32%.

Crude oil fell on concern rising U.S. stockpiles signal weakening demand for fuel as the recession bites. The U.S. Energy Department reports on weekly U.S. gasoline supplies tomorrow.

Crude for February delivery fell 1.7% to US$39.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price of oil has slumped some 60% this year.

Gold futures for February delivery fell 0.3% to US$873 an ounce in New York. Copper gained as stocks advanced. Copper for delivery in three months rose 0.2% to US$2,911 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.

The U.S. dollar dropped versus the euro and the yen after a government report showed consumer confidence in the world's biggest economy fell to a record low in December.

The dollar fell to $1.4091 per euro in New York from $1.3927. It sank to 90.22 yen from 90.68.

The U.S. Conference Board's index of consumer sentiment slid to 38, the lowest level since record began. A separate report showed house prices in 20 major U.S. cities had a record decline in the 12 months ended Oct. 31. The S&P/Case-Shiller index dropped 18% in the 12 months through October.

U.S. Treasuries edged higher after the economic reports that showed the recession isn't abating. The yield on two-year Treasuries fell to 0.75% from 0.77%.


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