Thursday, February 3, 2011

GLOBAL MARKETS - Egypt overshadows economic recovery, oil rises!!!

(Reuters) - World shares struggled to eke out more gains on Wednesday as wariness over escalating violence in Egypt and rising oil prices muted optimism over the latest signs of a sustained global economic recovery!!!

The price of copper, a key industrial metal, hit a record high on expectations of strong global demand.

Brent crude earlier topped more than $102 a barrel, a 28-month high, on worries that the flare-ups in Egypt could spread across the Middle East and North Africa, source of more than a third of the world's oil.

Prices of U.S. crude futures had slipped after data showed that U.S. stockpiles rose for a third straight week, but finished moderately higher. U.S. light sweet crude oil rose 9 cents to settle at $90.86 per barrel.

"While the oil market wants to move lower on the bearish (inventory) data, it can't break away from worries about Egypt," said Phil Flynn, analyst at PFGBest Research in Chicago.

"The latest pictures of Egyptian demonstrations becoming violent have added to those worries," Flynn said.

The dollar, a traditional safe-haven currency, rose against the euro on the unrest in Egypt and on signs of dissent over a euro zone rescue plan.

MSCI's all-country world stock index, one of the broadest gauges of global equities, rose 0.22 percent after earlier hitting levels last seen in August 2008.

"Just like everyone else, we are monitoring Egypt very, very closely in the event we need to make adjustments," said Dan Fuss, vice chairman of Loomis Sayles, which has more than $150 billion in assets under management.

Emerging market shares led gains, rising 0.4 percent. They are down more than 1 percent in 2011, however, reflecting a shift by investors to developed markets such as the United States, where key indexes on Tuesday hit their highest closing levels in about 2-1/2 years.

Equities were bolstered by a report by ADP Employer Services on Wednesday that U.S. private employers added 187,000 jobs in January, more than forecast. On Tuesday, strong factory data worldwide prodded U.S. benchmark stock indexes higher.

But the civil unrest in Egypt remained a top concern as violent clashes erupted between opponents and supporters of President Hosni Mubarak in central Cairo.

U.S. indexes ended little changed after a day of see-saw trade. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 1.81 points, or 0.02 percent, to 12,041.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 3.56 points to 1,304.03 and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.03 points to 2,750.16.

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp fell 2.1 percent to $82.77 after its profit missed expectations.

Time Warner Inc rose 8.6 percent to $35.10 after its profit topped estimates on a 21 percent jump in advertising sales at its cable networks. Mattel Inc rose almost 1 percent to $24.37 after its profit beat expectations.


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