International markets roundup

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - The Nasdaq exchange has smashed its 15-year-old record, breaking through the old mark set at the peak of the dot-com boom in 2000.

The Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.41 per cent (20.89 points) to finish at 5,056.06 on Thursday, finally making up all the nearly 4,000 points lost in a stunning crash that followed the previous closing mark of 5,048.62 set on March 10, 2000.

A final-hour sell-off prevented the S&P 500 from surpassing its own previous record high of six weeks ago, but the markets overall polished off the session in positive territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 20.42 points (0.11 per cent) at 18,058.69. while the S&P added 4.97 points (0.24 per cent) at 2,112.93.

"We finally took out the resistance area" after weeks of waiting for the Nasdaq breakthrough, said Peter Cardillo at Rockwell Global Capital.

LONDON - European stock markets have closed mostly lower as more disappointing Chinese data weighed on the global economic outlook, and investors awaited developments in Greece's debt stand-off.

Frankfurt's benchmark DAX 30 index closed down 1.21 per cent to 11,723,58 points on Thursday as the market brushed off data showing that consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest since late 2001.

The CAC 40 in Paris ended 0.62 per cent lower at 5,178.91 after a key survey showed growth in business activity in France's private sector slowed in April amid signs that the eurozone's second-biggest economy was on the verge of stalling.

London's FTSE 100 closed out 0.36 per cent higher to 7,053.67 points, with dealers reacting to a drop in British retail sales numbers, along with official data showing the British government beat its deficit-reduction target before next month's general election.

The euro rose to $US1.0804 from $US1.0725 late in New York on Wednesday.

HONG KONG - Asian markets have mostly risen with another poor reading of Chinese manufacturing lifting Shanghai on hopes for further stimulus while a weaker yen boosts Japanese exporters.

Wall Street pushed higher on the back of strong house sales data, which also supported the US dollar, while the euro was weighed down by worries about Greece's future in the eurozone.

Tokyo added 0.27 per cent, or 53.75 points, to finish at 20,187.65, and Seoul climbed 1.38 per cent, or 29.52 points, to 2,173.41.

Shanghai finished 0.36 per cent, or 16.01 points higher at 4,414.51 but Hong Kong, which has enjoyed a huge rally recently, eased 0.38 per cent, or 106.15 points, to 27,827.70.

HSBC said its preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) of manufacturing activity in China had slipped to a 12-month low in April, the latest data to show the world's No.2 economy slowing.

The reading of 49.2 is down from the 49.6 seen in March and well below the 50 break-even point.

The result led higher on hopes the Chinese authorities will introduce more monetary easing measures.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares have retreated, paced by power and broadband company Trustpower as a major shareholder reduced its stake.

The NZX 50 Index fell 35.71 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5757.91. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 16 rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $NZ285 million.


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