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While you were sleeping: BusinessWire overnight wrap

Wednesday 10th December 2008

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Stocks on Wall Street declined after companies including FedEx Corp. forecast weaker than expected earnings, stoking concern about a prolonged recession in the world's biggest economy.

Among evidence of the prolonged global slump, Texas Instruments and other chip firms warned of weaker demand and Sony announced plans to eliminate 16,000 jobs as it slashed US$1.1 billion of costs. South Korea's Samsung Electronics said it would cut capital spending by at least US$1.4 billion.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.3% to 8728.37 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 1.8% to 893.27. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.8% to 1559.44.

FedEx fell 15% to US$62.90 after saying earnings would suffer in a "significantly weaker" economy. General Electric fell about 6% to US$17.77 and General Motors dropped 5.5% to US$4.66. JPMorgan Chase fell 6.6% to US$34.08.

Democrats said a US$15 billion bailout for automakers is likely to win approval of the Congress in the next couple of days. GM and Chrysler have said they'll run out of cash without federal support. Republicans say the proposed rescue is flawed.

US three-month Treasury bill rates sank to negative 0.01% as more investors sought the relative safety of government debt. The Treasury sold US$27 billion of the bills yesterday at a discount rate of 0.005%, the lowest since sales started in 1929, according to Bloomberg. The US sold US$30 billion of four-week bills today at 0%.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell 9 basis points to 2.65%. Two-year notes fell 10 basis points to 0.84%.

Falling rates has spurred even companies without an investment-grade credit rating to seek to tap the debt market for funds. El Paso Corp. plans to sell US$500 million to refinance exiting debt. The gas pipeline owner would mark the first sale of junk bonds in about two months.

In Europe, stocks fell for a second day on optimism about US President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus plan and after a report showed an unexpected improvement in Germany's investor confidence.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index gained 1.4% to 205.34. Daimler rose more than 4%. Germany's DAX 30 rose 1.3% to 4779.11, with Adidas rising 9% and BMW gaining 5.6%.

France's CAC 40 rose 1.6% to 3297.8 and the FTSE 100 Index rose 1.9% to 4381.26.

Figures in the UK yesterday showed October housing sales tumbled to a lowest level in some 30 years.

Crude oil fell on a US assessment that global demand will shrink for the first time since the early 1980s as the world's largest economies tip into recession. The US Energy Department said oil consumption may decline 0.5% to 85.3 million barrels a day next year.

Crude oil for January delivery fell 1.7% to US$42.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Copper extended its decline on concern a broad global recession will sap demand for the metal used in everything from electronics to water and gas pipes. Copper futures for March delivery fell 3.6% to US$1.4435 a pound in New York.

Gold rose as some investors sought out the precious metal as an alternative investment to the US dollar. Gold futures for February delivery rose 0.6% to US$774.20 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The euro weakened against the yen and the US dollar amid further signs of deteriorating global growth.

UK manufacturing shrank in October, with factory output tumbling 1.4% from September, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The yen gained to 118.89 per euro in New York from 120.26 the previous day. Japan's currency strengthened to 92.04 versus the dollar from 92.82. The dollar rose to $1.2912 per euro, from $1.2963.

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