India Morning Call-Global Markets

Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:34pm EDT

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EQUITIES

NEW YORK - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday, led by losses in the technology and materials sectors, as geopolitical concerns rose after the United States and the European Union agreed to work together on tougher sanctions on Russia.

Trading remained choppy with U.S. stocks mostly positive in the morning after U.S. economic data pointed to improving conditions. But the major indexes reversed course in the afternoon as technology stocks turned sharply lower.

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LONDON - Shares in British bank Lloyds plunged 4.9 percent on Wednesday after the government sold a stake in the lender at a discount to its stock price, and held back the UK's blue chip equity index.

The FTSE 100 index, which at one stage rose as much as 0.6 percent, ended up by just 0.41 points, flat in percentage terms, at 6,605.30 points.

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TOKYO - Japanese shares fell more than one percent on Thursday, hit by renewed anxiety over the crisis in Ukraine and pressured by Japanese pension fund selling ahead of the financial year-end next week.

The Nikkei share average fell 1.4 percent to 14,268.28, closing in on this month's low of 14,203.21, marked on March 17, though about half of the losses were due to the effect of many shares going ex-dividend.

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HONG KONG - Hang Seng Index set to open flat.

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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

TOKYO - The euro was on the defensive on Thursday after comments from European Central Bank officials this week raised fresh speculation on further monetary easing to stave off potential deflation. The euro traded at $1.37875, edging near a low of $1.3749 hit twice in recent days, a break of which will bring the currency to its lowest level since March 6.

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TREASURIES

NEW YORK - U.S. Treasury debt prices extended gains on Wednesday after the government sold $35 billion in new five-year notes amid very strong demand from fund managers and other investors.

Indirect bidders bought 50.9 percent of the sale but dealers took only 25.9 percent of the notes, well below their 47 percent average for the last four five-year note auctions. The notes sold at a high yield of 1.715 percent, or about one-and-a-half basis points lower than where they had traded before the auction

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COMMODITIES

GOLD

SINGAPORE - Gold moved up slightly on Thursday, stepping away from a six-week low as the metal's safe-haven appeal was boosted by weaker equities.

However, gains were kept in check by a second straight day of outflows from gold funds and encouraging U.S. manufacturing data.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,305.60 an ounce by 0016 GMT. The metal hit $1,298.29 in the previous session - its lowest since Feb. 13.

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BASE METALS

SYDNEY - London copper firmed on Thursday, underpinned by hopes of stimulus steps in China, but investors remained alert for further signs of stress in China's bond or property markets that could flag a drop in demand for copper.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had climbed by 0.3 percent to $6,533.25 a tonne by 0108 GMT, paring losses from the previous session.

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OIL

NEW YORK - U.S. crude gained more than $1 per barrel on Wednesday as inventories at the future's delivery point dropped for the eighth straight week, while Brent held steady, supported by supply outages in Nigeria and Libya and tensions over Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Brent for May delivery posted a 4-cent gain to settle at $107.03 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1, known as West Texas Intermediate or WTI, rose $1.07 to settle at $100.26 a barrel.

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