International markets roundup
Market watch top headlines
A roundup of trading on major world markets:
NEW YORK - US stocks tumbled as US President Barack Obama challenged Republicans to accept tax increases for the wealthy in a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff.
After opening higher helped by Cisco Systems's strong earnings, share prices slid and then turned more sharply downward after Obama laid out his terms for a deal in his first post-re-election media conference.
At the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 184.92 points (1.45 per cent) at 12,571.26.
The broad-market S&P 500 lost 19.03 (1.38 per cent) at 1,355.50, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gave up 37.08 (1.29 per cent) at 2,846.81.
LONDON - Europe's main stock markets have dropped with workers across indebted eurozone nations taking part in co-ordinated general strikes in protest at their governments' deep austerity programs.
London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies dropped 1.11 per cent in Wednesday trade to 5,722.01 points, while in Frankfurt the DAX 30 gave up 0.94 per cent to 7,101.92 points and Paris' CAC 40 fell 0.89 per cent to 3,400.02 points.
Madrid slid 0.27 per cent and Milan shed 0.52 per cent.
HONG KONG - Asian shares rose as a Greek debt sale soothed fears over the country's future and dealers picked up bargains after a recent sell-off fuelled by concerns over the US fiscal cliff.
The euro, which sank to a two-month low against the dollar in Europe on Tuesday, edged up against the greenback and yen as a little confidence returned to the market.
Tokyo ended flat on Wednesday, edging up 3.68 points to 8,664.73, Sydney gained 0.20 per cent, or 8.60 points, to 4,388.4 and Seoul rose 0.23 per cent, or 4.34 points, to 1,894.04.
Hong Kong climbed 1.20 per cent, or 253.34 points, to 21,441.99 and Shanghai rose 0.37 per cent, or 7.53 points, to 2,055.42.
Regional markets have suffered big losses since last week's re-election of US President Barack Obama, with dealers fearing a stand-off in congress in addressing the `fiscal cliff' of tax hikes and spending cuts that are due to come in on January 1.
WELLINGTON - The NZX 50 Index fell 14.99 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 3955.56.