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BUSINESS NEWS JAN 21, 2008
Due to a technical problem on Wednesday Jan 16, we are upgrading the news management system by a Canadian software company, which will be completed in coming days.

It has taken longer than anticipated. That is one of the drawbacks of outsourcing. C'est la vie - even Google News updating falls behind at times!

Business News Headlines to Jan 16 2008

Today's News Links

Click for Monday's stories and links from Jan 17 2008

Markets News Monday: Stocks fall sharply in Europe and Asia-Pacific on US recession fears

On Friday in New York, worries about consumer spending and the financial health of bond insurers overshadowed announcements in Washington on an economic stimulus plan.

The top indexes incurred a fourth day of losses with the Dow Jones Industrial Average off 59.91 points, or 0.5%, at 12099.30 despite positive earnings news from IBM and General Electric.

Reports said that bond insurer MBIA may have to assume some of the risks it had previously offloaded onto a company called Channel Reinsurance, because two other companies said their stakes in ChannelRe are now worthless. MBIA shares dropped 7.3% on Friday after a 51% plunge on Thursday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.6%, or 8.06 points, to 1325.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.3%, or 6.88 points, at 2340.02.

The three major indexes lost least 4% with the S&P 500 losing 5.4%, its worst weekly loss since July 2002.

The Wall Street Journal says today that US has suffered recessions only twice in the past quarter century and both were short and mild. There are good reasons to fear that the looming recession, if it arrives, could be worse.

Housing is in the midst of its worst downturn since at least the 1970s. That has led to a meltdown in the mortgage market; with financial firms struggling to make sense of their losses, they are making it harder for even credit-worthy borrowers to get loans. The combination of heavy debt loads, still-high energy and food prices and a weakening job market has households tightening their belts. Consumer spending, long a bulwark of the economy, is faltering.

The Journal says that sets the stage for something more severe than the 2001 recession, which spanned just eight months, says Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg. During that slump, in which gross domestic product declined a slight 0.4%, quarterly consumer spending slowed but never contracted -- the first time that happened during a recession since the 1940s.

The eight-month recession that ended in early 1991, when a housing downturn and credit problems sapped the economy, is a better guide. From its peak to its trough, GDP shrank 1.3%, and consumer spending slipped.

Dr. Peter Morici - CTV (Canadian TV) Interview on Stimulus Package: The Stimulus Package, Alone, Won't Do the Trick

Dr. Morici's remarks follows President Bush's comments. It is about 2:30 into the segments.

NPR (National Public Radio) Interview on Gold Prices

Asia-Pacific stocks fell sharply Monday on continuing worries about the US economy.

Japan's benchmark index fell almost 4% while the Hong Kong sunk 5.5%.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 3.86% to close at 13325.94. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished 5.5% lower at 23818.86. In China, the Shanghai Composite index lost 5.1%

The Australian share market fell for an 11th consecutive day, the longest losing streak in 26 years, heavily impacted by plunges in financial stocks. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 2.9%, or 166.9 points, at 5580.4. The index has dropped 18.6% from its record high 6851.5 in November. Asia-Pacific - Key Benchmarks

European stocks have fallen shraply Monday with the Dow Jones 600 down over 2% the measure has fallen 20%  and the Germany's DAX off over 3%. In Dublin, the ISEQ has also fallen more than 3%.

National benchmarks -  Europe

Irish Share Prices

Euribor Rates

AIB Daily Report

Bank of Ireland Daily Report

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.4501 and at £0.7435.

The euro fell after Dutch Central Bank Governor and ECB Governing Council member, said that Eurozone economic growth had fallen  faster than policymakers had expected.

For live currency updates, check the right-hand column of the Finfacts home page

Commodities

Crude oil for February delivery is trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) at $89.50 per barrel - $1.07, or 1.2% from Friday. In London, Brent is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $88.59 down 90 cents.

The oil price has been under pressure because of recession fears.

Gold spot price

The spot price of gold is at $872.60 per ounce, down $7.90 since Friday.

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