* Stocks slide as how to rescue U.S. bank remains fuzzy
* Crude jumps as gasoline stocks fall more than expected
* Safe-haven bids drive up dollar, bonds fall on supply (Adds close of U.S. markets, changes dateline; previous LONDON)
NEW YORK, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Oil prices jumped on Wednesday while global stocks fell, unable to sustain a late U.S. rally, as more dour data and doubts over how U.S. President Barack Obama plans to fix the U.S. economy weighed on equity markets.
U.S. stocks briefly turned positive after banking regulators launched a “stress test” program to assess larger banks’ ability cope with a prolonged recession that may see the unemployment rate climb above 10 percent next year. For details, please see [ID:nN25501489]
But details were lacking about how to remove toxic assets from the ailing U.S. banking sector, and stocks sold off anew.
The U.S. dollar extended gains against the euro as investors remained averse to risk amid fresh signs of a deepening downturn across the world, but gold prices ended lower.
Plunging exports drove Japan’s trade deficit to a record high and a sharp contraction was confirmed in Germany, while in the United States sales of previously owned homes plunged in January and prices fell to a six-year low. For details, see [ID:nN25479552].
Investors again fled to safety, helping lift the price of euro zone government bonds, but U.S. Treasury debt prices were weaker as the huge supply of bonds to fund the U.S. government’s economic stimulus efforts weighed on markets.
“The negative housing data -- the lack of any bottom in the plummeting housing market -- along with sharply lower stocks this morning have rekindled the demand for safe-haven dollar assets,” said Omer Esiner, senior market analyst at Ruesch International in Washington.
U.S. stocks fell as investors found little new in a major speech late Tuesday by Obama, who broadly outlined his agenda for tackling the worst U.S. financial crisis in decades.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed down 80.05 points, or 1.09 percent, at 7,270.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX fell 8.24 points, or 1.07 percent, at 764.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC dropped 16.40 points, or 1.14 percent, at 1,425.43.
European shares ended lower for a fourth straight session as defensive sectors such as telecom and pharmaceuticals stocks fell, outpacing a broadly positive day for banks, which gained on a British asset bailout plan.
The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares provisionally closed 0.5 percent lower at 716.15 points.
Oil rose to over $42 a barrel after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said gasoline supplies declined by 3.4 million barrels, or more than the expected drop of 100,000 barrels in the week to Feb. 20. [EIA/S]
“Demand is coming back,” said Tom Bentz, analyst at BNP Paribas Commodity Futures in New York.
The U.S. dollar gained against a basket of major currencies, with the U.S. Dollar Index .DXY up 1.44 percent at 88.031.
The dollar has benefited in recent months from the view that the U.S. economy will be the first to recover given the government’s proactive measures to revive the growth. That makes the U.S. dollar the best place to park investor cash amid the ongoing global uncertainty.
Gold closed below $950 an ounce in its third straight decline. U.S. gold futures for April delivery GCJ9 settled down $3.30 at $966.20 an ounce in New York.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note US10YT=RR fell 39/32 in price to yield 2.94 percent. The 2-year U.S. Treasury note US2YT=RR fell 5/32 to yield 1.09 percent. (Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu, Nick Olivari, Ellen Freilich in New York and Alex Lawler, Atul Prakash and Naomi Tajitsu in London; writing by Herbert Lash, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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