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AAP

2013-02-27

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - US stocks opened solidly higher in anticipation of congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The markets were also buoyed by upbeat earnings results, including from home-improvement retailer Home Depot.

Fifteen minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 83.01 points (0.60 per cent) to 13,867.18.

The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 7.45 points (0.50 per cent) to 1,495.30, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 7.28 points (0.23 per cent) to 3,123.53.

The gains partially offset deep losses sustained on Monday in the wake of the uncertain outcome of the Italian elections.

LONDON - European stock markets slumped and the euro has hit a near two-month dollar low as dealers assess the fallout of Italy's political impasse after elections in the indebted eurozone country.

Milan's FTSE MIB index tumbled 4.89 per cent to end the day at 16,552 points, with deadlock in Italy's parliament after a critical vote in which the real winner was a protest party calling for a referendum on the euro.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies fell 1.34 per cent to 6,270.44 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 2.27 per cent to 7,597.11 points, in Paris the CAC 40 shed 2.67 per cent to 3,621.92 points, as shares in European banks tumbled.

Madrid's IBEX 35 index dived 3.2 per cent to 7,980.7 points on fresh fears of eurozone instability, traders said.

HONG KONG - Asian markets mostly took a tumble, with dealers spooked by an election in Italy without a clear winner, leading to political uncertainty and fresh eurozone stability fears.

The US dollar and euro clawed back some of the losses suffered in US trade as investors absorbed the Italian results on Tuesday, while there was also concern about the lack of progress in Washington to avoid spending cuts due to take effect on Friday.

Tokyo tumbled 2.26 per cent, or 263.71 points, to 11,398.81, with profit-takers moving in after the index enjoyed a big surge on Monday.

Sydney shed 1.03 per cent, or 52.2 points, to 5,003.6, and Seoul lost 0.47 per cent, or 9.51 points, to close at 2,000.01.

Shanghai tumbled 1.40 per cent, or 32.48 points, to 2,293.34, while Hong Kong fell 1.32 per cent, or 300.39 points, to 22,519.69.

WELLINGTON - The NZX 50 Index rose 12.47 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4238.91.