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Thursday, 22 February, 2001, 22:01 GMT
Stock markets stay stubbornly low
A graph of the Nasdaq's rise and fall
US stock markets remained sunk at low levels on Thursday, as the global slide in share prices showed no sign of ending.

The broad ranging Dow Jones Industrial Average of US shares closed flat at the end of a volatile day's trading which had seen shares race ahead in the opening minutes and then go sharply into reverse.

Thursday's markets

Dow Jones:
10,526.81 (level)
2,244.97 (-1.1%)
London, FTSE 100:
Frankfurt, Dax: 6,277.99 (-1.1%)
Paris, Cac 40: 5,452 (-0.4%)
Tokyo, Nikkei: 13,073.36 (-26.72)
HK's Hang Seng:
15,098.6 (-252.9)
The tech-weighted Nasdaq composite, which kicked-off the current series of market declines with a 5% slump on Friday, finished 23.97 points or 1.1% lower at 2,244.97.

The index had already lost a further 6% since Friday's rout.

The declines halted a half-hearted rally in European markets.

The only one of the big three European markets to end higher was London, where the FTSE 100 index managed to clamber back off its 16-month lows to end just above the 6,000 level.

Earlier, the Nikkei 225, the benchmark Japanese share index, closed 0.2% lower, after hitting a new 28-month low hit earlier in the day.

In Hong Kong, the key Hang Seng index closed 1.6% down.

Inflation worries

The latest slump follows the onset of a slowdown in the growth of the US economy, the world's largest.

Wednesday's losses
FTSE 100: 5,972.4
Dax: 6,347.99
Cac 40: 5,474
Nikkei: 13,100
Dow Jones: 10,527
Nasdaq: 2,269

The US central bank, in an unusual move, twice cut interest rates last month in a bid to bolster the economy.

But figures on Wednesday revealed that US inflation was higher than expected, raising the prospect that the country's economy could be heading for double troubles - low growth, yet rising prices.

Stock markets across the world had already suffered in 2000 after the bursting of the technology share "bubble" in March.

While this initially mainly hit consumer web sites, it has spread to encompass nearly all internet-related activities, including makers of personal computers.

In Europe the fall-out has also been felt hard by the telecoms giants, such as Vodafone, BT and Deutsche Telekom, which are struggling to absorb huge debts built up when winning licences to operate next generation mobile phone services.

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The Markets: 9:29 UK
FTSE 100 5760.40 -151.7
Dow Jones 11380.99 -119.7
Nasdaq 2243.78 -28.9
FTSE delayed by 15 mins, Dow and Nasdaq by 20 mins
See also:

22 Feb 01 | Business
Vodafone slips to third place
21 Feb 01 | Business
Shares gloom deepens
21 Feb 01 | Business
US inflation jumps
21 Feb 01 | Business
Why stock markets matter for you
04 Jan 01 | Business
Trouble ahead in Asia and Europe?
21 Feb 01 | Business
The fall and fall of the Nasdaq
15 Dec 00 | Review to Dot.bomb
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