Global Markets Unsettled for Second Day

Posted September 6th, 2011 at 6:20 am (UTC-5)
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European stock prices rebounded some Tuesday from the previous day’s steep losses but Asian markets continued their slide, driven by fears of slowing growth in the United States and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

Japan’s closely watched Nikkei index closed down by 2.2 percent, at its lowest level since April 2009, while similar losses were recorded elsewhere in Asia. Export-oriented manufacturers suffering some of the heaviest losses.

But Paris, London and Frankfurt all were up more than 1 percent after losses averaging more than 4 percent on Monday. Futures trading in the United States indicated New York was still facing steep losses.

Gold rose to an all-time high at more than $1,919 an ounce before settling back. A flight to U.S. Treasury bonds drove yields to their lowest level in more than 60 years.

The trading followed losses Monday of around 3 percent in major Asian markets and more than 4 percent in European financial capitals. Analysts blamed the European losses in part on concerns about Greece’s ability to meet its debt obligations and the viability of the region’s common currency, the euro.

In Singapore, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was quoted saying a new global recession is now more likely than not. However World Bank President Robert Zoellick said at the same conference be believed a double-dip recession will be avoided.

The two-day round of stock selling in Asia was sparked by Friday’s U.S. Labor Department report which showed job growth stalling. The data increased concerns that the United States could lapse back into recession.

Worries about U.S. growth were compounded by a downbeat report on China’s services sector.