Mubarak resignation cheered by world markets

Egyptian president's announcement that he is stepping down boosts stocks around the world.

Trader watches the stocks 311 (photo credit: AP)
Trader watches the stocks 311
(photo credit: AP)
LONDON — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's decision to hand power to the military boosted stocks around the world on Friday as hopes grew for a peaceful transition of power.
Markets had earlier been lower after Mubarak defiantly held onto his position in a speech the day before, fueling concerns that the political standoff was a long way from being resolved. That sentiment was lifted when Vice President Omar Suleiman told state TV that Mubarak had resigned.
"In these difficult circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the position of the presidency," Suleiman said. He has commissioned the armed forces council to direct the issues of the state."
Stocks jumped across the board on the news.
In Europe, Germany's DAX traded up 0.4 percent to 7,371.01 while the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares gained 0.7 percent to 6,060.94. The CAC-40 in Paris was 0.3 percent higher at 4,092.51. All had been lower earlier in the day.
After opening lower, Wall Street likewise rallied. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.2 percent to 12,254.34 while the Standard & Poor's 500 index was 0.3 percent higher at 1,325.81.
The news from Egypt also weighed down on oil prices, which had rallied in recent weeks on fears of the impact on crude transportation. By late afternoon in Europe, the benchmark crude for March delivery was down 30 cents at $86.43 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Though Egypt is not a big oil producer, traders were worrying that the unrest might spread to other countries and affect the Suez Canal — a key route for oil tankers and cargo ships as they steer from the Persian Gulf to the major oil-consuming nations in Europe.