Markets Hopeful On Wall Street Return After Storm


LONDON (AP) â¿¿ Financial markets were volatile on Wednesday as trading resumed on Wall Street following a two-day suspension due to superstorm Sandy.

The New York Stock Exchange had closed Monday and Tuesday as the storm hit the city, leaving scores dead and a massive cleanup operation.

With the New York subway still down and a backlog of corporate earnings to digest from the likes of General Motors and Mastercard, trading was erratic as it resumed. That volatility was fueled by the fact that many investors were closing out positions and try to improve their accounts on the last day of the month.

"There's little doubt that markets are in for a wild ride," said Alex Koustas, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

After opening solidly higher, U.S. stocks gave up their gains, and that weighed on European markets, too.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.3 percent at 13,063 while the broader S&P 500 index fell by the same rate to 1,407.

Apple, the world's largest company by market capitalization, was weighing on U.S. indexes, particularly the Nasdaq on which it is listed. Apple saw its share price fall around 2 percent after a surprise shakeup of its management team. The company's share price is on course for its worst monthly performance since 2008.

In Europe, Germany's DAX dropped 0.3 percent to close at 7,260.63 while the CAC-40 in France fell 0.9 percent to 3,429.27. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 1.2 percent at 5,782.70.

Investors will keep an eye on a raft of U.S. economic news to be released over the next few days, culminating in Friday's nonfarm payrolls data, which often sets the market tone for a week or two. This month's figures may have a more notable impact, coming ahead of Tuesday's closely-fought U.S. presidential election.

In the currency markets, the euro lost much of its earlier gains as sentiment in the markets soured. When the appetite for risk among investors diminishes, as evident in the fall of stock markets, traders often sell the euro and buy the dollar.

By late afternoon London time, the euro was only 0.1 percent higher at $1.2969.

Earlier, Europe's single currency had pushed up as high as $1.3020 despite figures showing that unemployment in the 17-country eurozone climbed to a record 11.6 percent in September.

Oil prices were steady, with the benchmark New York rate up 59 cents at $86.27 a barrel.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index closed 0.1 percent lower at 8,928.29 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1 percent to 21,641.82. Mainland China's main index in Shanghai close 0.4 percent higher at 2068.88.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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