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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK
Stock markets plunge on US data
NYSE traders
New York's traders suffer a tough day at work
US unemployment data heaped further gloom on global stock markets that were already on the way down.

Global markets close:
Dow Jones: Down 234.9 points to 9,606.75
Nasdaq: Down 17.99 points to 1,687.65
S&P 500: Down 19.09 points to 1,087.31
FTSE 100: Down 134 points to 5070.3
Dax: Down 144 points to 4.730.67
Cac 40: Down 67.24 points to 4,413.51
Nikkei: Down 133.5 points to 10,516.8
The blue-chip indexes of New York stocks fell sharply on Friday, although a rise in Intel shares helped bolster hi-tech shares.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 index of leading shares fell sharply to end the day at its lowest level for about three years, while in Germany the stock market hit a two-and-a-half-year low and in France a new two-year low was reached.

"If we didn't have bad economic news, Intel would be doing a better job of leading us higher," said Morgan Stanley trader Michael Lyons.

"But the [jobless] numbers were very disappointing."

Slight relief for the Nasdaq

The Dow Jones industrial average index of leading shares closed down 234.9 points to 9,606.75, a sharp fall, though the index is still above this year's low.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index closed 19.09 points lower at 1,087.31, well below its weakest closing level this year seen on 4 April when it closed at 1,103.25.

The Nasdaq index, dominated by high technology shares, was 17.99 points lower at 1,687.65, despite being partly bolstered by better than expected predictions from the world's largest chip maker Intel which said its third quarter sales would come in within predicted levels.

European markets

London's leading index of shares, the FTSE 100, lost ground during morning trading, before plunging deeper still after official figures showing an unexpectedly sharp rise in US unemployment were released.

The FTSE 100 - which closed at a three-year low on Thursday - had lost a further 134 points to close at 5070.3, a fresh three-year low.

Germany's blue-chip Dax, which on Thursday hit at a two-year low, slipped further too.

The German Dax index of leading shares closed down 144 points at 4.730.67 points, its lowest level for more than two-and-a-half years.

"The employment figures threw more oil on the fire here, convincing people we are going further into recession. Sentiment is so bad, I cannot imagine it getting worse," one Frankfurt trader said.

France's Cac 40 closed 1.5% or 67.24 points lower at 4,413.51 points, its lowest close in more than two years.

During trading, the index even fell below the psychologically important support level of 4,400.

"There is a global confidence crisis in the market," said CIC/EIB analyst Pierre Vignaud, predicting further falls in the French market.

The US data showed the jobless rate at 4.9% in August - the highest level seen since September 1997.

The figure was far higher than economists had expected - most had forecast a marginal rise from July's 4.5% - and raises the prospect of another emergency cut in US interest rates aimed at keeping the country out of recession.

Japanese fears

The red screens across Europe and the US followed Asian falls spurred by poor Japanese growth figures.

In Japan the government reported the economy shrank 0.8% in the second quarter from April to June, as the global slowdown added to its economic problems.

If the economy contracts in the next quarter - which looks likely - it will meet the classic definition of a recession.

The Nikkei 225 closed down 133.5 points, or 1.25%, to 10,516.8 after losing as much as 2% earlier in the session.

Hong Kong shares, which plummeted 2.6% to a new 30-month low on Thursday, moved sharply lower again on Friday shedding more than 2%. Korea and Taiwan followed the lead and also reported falls.

The BBC's Stephen Evans
"It is all down to the American consumer now"
Harry Holzer, Georgetown University
"Consumer spending could keep us out of a recession"
View market data
Launch marketwatch
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

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See also:

07 Sep 01 | Business
Japan heads towards recession
06 Sep 01 | Business
Global share gloom
07 Sep 01 | Business
US jobless rate jumps to 4.9%
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