Dollar falls to record lows against world currencies

After climbing as much as 150 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 87.8 points during late morning trading, or 0.7%, at 13,046.2.

By NEWS AGENCIES
November 21, 2007 08:30
4 minute read.

 
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SHARES Israeli stocks advanced on Tuesday, paced by Bank Hapoalim Ltd., Israel's second-largest bank by assets. Israel Chemicals Ltd. paced retreating shares. The TA-25 Index added 0.8, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,194.36 at the close in Tel Aviv. Investors traded about NIS 2.27 billion in shares and convertible securities. Hapoalim climbed NIS 0.30 shekel, or 1.6%, to NIS 19.40. The Tel Aviv-based bank said it expected to complete the purchase of Kazakhstan's Demir Kazhakhstan Bank in the next "several days" after winning regulatory approvals. Hapoalim will report third-quarter earnings today. Israel Chemicals fell NIS 1.04, or 2.5%, to NIS 40.61. Third-quarter profit at the company, which extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizers and chemicals, was lifted by a lower-than-usual tax payment, Excellence Nessuah Securities & Investments Ltd. wrote in a note to investors. Elron Electronic Industries Ltd. dropped NIS 2.21, or 4.9%, to NIS 42.96. The holding and technology company's third-quarter net loss widened to $20 million from $4.4m. in the same period last year, according to a Business Wire statement. Oil Refineries Ltd. advanced NIS 0.05, or 1.4%, to 3.38. Israel's biggest petroleum refiner said profit, not counting gains from the sale of its Ashdod unit a year ago, rose more than sevenfold to NIS 179m. in the third quarter. Retalix Ltd. dropped NIS 2.68, or 3.6%, to NIS 72.78. The maker of software used by grocery chains and convenience stores said the dollar's decline is increasing wage costs in Israel this year. WALL STREET Stocks traded higher on optimism fueled by Hewlett-Packard Co.'s solid results and renewed hopes of another interest-rate cut. After climbing as much as 150 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 87.8 points during late morning trading, or 0.7%, at 13,046.2. The Commerce Department estimated a 3% rise in US housing starts for October, but building permits fell for the fifth consecutive month, down 6.6%, and stood at their slowest pace in 14 years. The S&P 500 rose 11.36 points, or 0.8%, to 1,444.63, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 27.38 points, or 1.1%, to 2,620.76. EUROPE Stocks rebounded from a three-month low, led by chemical producers and carmakers, as investors speculated the sell-off was overdone given the prospects for corporate profits. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 1.1% to 358.65. The index has retreated 7.7% this month on increasing concern that losses tied to US subprime concerns. National benchmarks rose in 14 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 gained 1.7% to 6,226.50, and Germany's DAX climbed 1.6%, while France's CAC 40 added 1.4%. The Stoxx 50 advanced 1%, while the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure for the euro region, rose 1.2%. ASIA Stocks rose, reversing earlier declines, on speculation minutes from a Federal Reserve meeting will show the US economy, the region's biggest overseas market, can weather a slump in values of homes and subprime mortgages. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia Pacific Index added 0.3% to 158.05 in Tokyo, rallying from an earlier decline of as much as 2.6 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.1% to 15,211.52, rebounding from a 1.9% slide. CURRENCY The shekel gained as the US currency slumped to a record low against the euro on concern credit-market losses would slow economic growth, prompting the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates. A report today showed homebuilding permits in the US fell to a 14-year low and construction of single-family homes tumbled, indicating the industry has yet to reach bottom. The shekel gained 1% to 3.8886 per dollar, the highest since October 1998, and was trading at 3.8915 by 6:45 p.m. in Tel Aviv, from 3.9297 late Monday. The dollar fell to a record low against the euro and Swiss franc on concern credit-market losses would slow economic growth, prompting the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates again this year. The dollar fell 0.8% to $1.4782 per euro during early afternoon action in New York, and touched $1.4814, the cheapest level since the 13-nation currency started trading in January 1999. The US currency weakened 0.5% to 1.1095 versus the Swiss franc and reached an all-time low of 1.1070. The dollar gained 0.2% to 110.02 yen. COMMODITIES Crude oil rose more than $2 a barrel after the US dollar declined to a record low against the euro, enhancing the appeal of commodities as an investment. Crude oil for January delivery rose $2.58, or 2.7%, to $97.22 a barrel during afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This is the third day the contract has risen. Futures climbed to $98.62 on November 7, the highest intraday price since trading began in 1983. Gold rebounded from the lowest price in three weeks after the dollar fell to a record against the euro, boosting the appeal of the precious metal as an alternative investment. Gold futures for December delivery rose $15.70, or 2%, to $793.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the NYMEX.

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