Oct 2, 2014 5:57 AM

Global stocks down on recovery, Ebola worries

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Global stock markets were lower on Thursday as investors remained cautious about the recovery in Europe and investors digested U.S. economic news.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 index fell 0.2 percent to 6,542.44 and Germany's DAX declined 0.2 percent to 9,368.58. France's CAC 40 dropped 0.4 percent to 4,350.68. Futures augured a lukewarm start for Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 both down 0.1 percent

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index sank 2.6 percent to 15,661.99 and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.8 percent to 1,976.16. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.7 percent to 5,297.7. Stocks in Southeast Asia also lost ground. Markets in Hong Kong and China were closed for a public holiday.

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK: Investors are watching European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's press conference. After the bank decided to keep rates on hold, Draghi said its plan to buy bonds would significantly increase the scale of its stimulus programs. Draghi said the ECB remains willing to do more if needed, but suggested its current stimulus programs should first be given a chance to have an impact on the economy.

US DATA: Stocks remained sluggish despite upbeat U.S. economic figures. Official statistics showed the number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, as the total number of beneficiaries dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years. Overall, 2.3 million people are receiving jobless aid. That's the fewest since June 2006, which predates the start of the Great Recession by 18 months.

EBOLA: U.S. airlines were among the hardest hit among stocks as investors fretted people would be discouraged from traveling after reports of the country's first case of Ebola.

ANALYST TAKE: "Confirmation of a case of Ebola in the U.S. has joined a growing list of bad news stories with geo-political tensions in Ukraine and Hong Kong, and growth concerns around China and Europe sapping risk appetite," said Niall King of CMC Markets in a commentary.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. oil fell $1.18 to $89.55 per barrel in electronic trading in New York. The contract fell 43 cents to settle at $90.73 on Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 108.61 yen from 109.07 yen. The euro rose to $1.2659 from $1.2630.


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