War worries unsettle financial markets

NEW YORK The dollar eked out small gains yesterday in choppy trade and dealers said the market was likely to remain range-bound as the looming threat of a US-led attack on Iraq and heightened security concerns put investors on edge even as investors tried to figure out what was happening.


Published: Thu 13 Feb 2003, 2:57 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 8:23 PM

The dollar wobbled a bit as police in New York checked a suspicious vehicle on the approach to a major bridge and amid rumors that Washington might lift its terrorism alert to the highest level of red, one notch above the current level of orange.

By early afternoon in New York, the dollar was up about a tenth of a per cent against the euro at $1.0726 per euro, having traded between $1.0770 and $1.0708.

Against the Swiss franc, the dollar was up 0.13 per cent at 1.3687 francs, near the top of the day's range.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan delivered a second day of congressional testimony yesterday, reiterating his concerns about the growing US budget deficit and questioning the need for fiscal stimulus.

Against the yen, the dollar was up about a quarter of a per cent at 121.31 yen, having earlier fallen as low as 120.47 yen.

Stocks sagged in midday trading yesterday, with blue chips skidding to fresh four-month lows.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 37.77 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 7,805.34, on track to close at a low not seen since Oct. 10, the day after it plunged to a five-year trough.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 4.68 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 824.52, on track for a new four-month closing low, while the technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index eased 4.37 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 1,291.09.

Modest trading volumes were making for a choppy session, traders said. About 591 million shares changed hands on the Big Board, and about 630 million shares were traded on Nasdaq.

Meanwhile, in London, oil held strong near two-year highs yesterday after the US government said national crude inventories had slumped to the lowest level in 27 years.

US light crude by 1730GMT was up a cent at $35.45 a barrel, after setting a fresh peak $35.95 a barrel in early trade. London Brent slipped eight cents to $32.29.

US crude stocks dipped 4.5 million barrels last week to their lowest since 1975 because of export disruptions from Venezuela, where an oil workers' strike is in its 11th week.

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