NEW YORK – The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index led US stocks sharply lower as anxiety about pricey technology equities return with a vengeance and drag down the broader market.
The Nasdaq tumbled 129.79 points (3.10 per cent) to 4,054.11.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 266.96 (1.62 per cent) to 16,170.22, while the broad-based S&P 500 fell 39.10 (2.09 per cent) to 1,833.08.
The sell-off came on a day when Chinese trade data disappointed and suggested more weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy.
LONDON – European stocks ended mixed after a topsy-turvy trading session, as weak Chinese data outweighed a triumphant return to the bond markets in Greece and positive news from the US jobs market.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index eked out a 0.10 per cent gain to 6,641.97 points, with markets largely shrugging off the Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates.
However, markets on continental Europe were down, with Frankfurt’s DAX 30 giving up 0.55 per cent to stand at 9,454.54 points and the CAC 40 in Paris losing 0.66 per cent to 4,413.49.
The euro firmed to $US1.3890 from $US1.3852 late on Wednesday in New York.
HONG KONG – Asian markets rose, taking their lead from a Wall Street rally after minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed no support for an early rise in interest rates.
While early gains were pared after China said imports and exports fell sharply in March, Hong Kong and Shanghai were lifted on Thursday by hopes of new government stimulus and news of a plan to increase access between the two cities’ stock exchanges.
Tokyo ended flat, edging up 0.43 points to 14,300.12, and Seoul added 0.48 per cent, or 9.66 points, to 2,008.61.
Sydney closed up 17 points or 0.31 per cent at 5,480.8 after data showed unemployment had dropped in March below 6.0 per cent.
Hong Kong rose 1.51 per cent, or 343.79 points, to 23,186.96 while Shanghai jumped 1.38 per cent, or 29.06 points, to 2,134.30.
WELLINGTON – The NZX 50 Index rose 48.082 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 5115.489.