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Spread betting: financial markets commentary

Market close: Thursday April 03, 2008

US Equity markets dipped in early trading as news filtered through from Bernanke’s testimony in which the Fed Chairman was quoted as saying that the US economy could contract in the first half of 2008. Hardly breaking news you might say but still sufficient to attract sellers to the markets.

However, the markets once again proved the resilience of the ongoing bear rally by bouncing from session lows to finish the day slightly higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the way higher, with a gain of 20.2 spreadbetting points to close at 12626.03. The S&P 500 index was up 1.78 (0.13%) to finish at 1369.31 and the Nasdaq Composite finished the session at 2363—up 0.9 (0.08%).

In London, major mining and oil stocks bucked the broad market decline, helping to mitigate the severity of the falls. As outlined below, you can see that the leader-board was dominated by the likes of International Power and Royal Dutch Shell. The water and sewerage company, Severn Trent, continued its run higher with a gain of 2.69% on Thursday.

A negative broker report by Goldman Sachs put pressure on financial sector stocks as investors took some profits following recent advances by the sector. By the close, the FTSE was down 24.6 points to close the day at 5891.3.

The main leaders and losers among the stocks on the London Stock Exchange are noted below:

FTSE 100 - winners

International Power [+3.49%]
BG Group [+3.29%]
Severn Trent [+2.69%]
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' [+1.99%]
Anglo American [+1.92%]

FTSE 100 - losers

Wolseley [-5.94%]
Carnival [-5.11%]
Legal & General [-5.00%]
Kingfisher [-4.98%]
Lloyds TSB [-4.66%]

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