Stock Markets Sink Amid European Crisis

World stock markets experienced heavy losses on Wednesday but stocks in the United States and Europe posted moderate gains on Thursday, following news that Italy successfully placed offering of debt securities. Debt-burdened Italy managed to raise $6.8 billion in one-year securities at an average rate of 6.09 percent, marking the highest interest rate on Italian government securities since September 1997, before the country adopted the euro.

Stock Market Down

On Thursday, the British FTSE 100 index lost 0.65 percent of its value, with major German and French stock indexes losing less than 1 percent. Early trading in the United States saw the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures adding 1.3 percent before going down to a 0.2-percent gain, while the Dow Jones industrial average added 0.4 percent.

On Wednesday, the S.& P. 500 index lost 3.7 percent following massive sell-off of Italian debt, which forced the markets down.
In the foreign exchange market, the euro rose slightly against the U.S. dollar, with deals being made at $1.3582 on Thursday from $1.3542 on Wednesday.

Investors in Europe and the U.S. welcomed news on positive developments in the North American labor market, where the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits continue to decrease even though at slower than expected pace. Market players are positive that a key Italian economic bill would be approved by the weekend, putting an end to growing costs of Italian government borrowing and resulting in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation. Markets also welcomed the news that Greece appointed Lucas Papademos as its new prime minister.

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