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Friday, February 20, 2009


Asian markets slide as investors choose safe havens
Investors are apparently becoming numb to gloomy economic news, while stimulus programs are doing little to boost confidence. Asian shares dipped Friday as investors opted for the safety of gold and U.S. Treasuries. South Korea's Kospi lost 2.6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.4% in early trading, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gave up 1.35% and the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan slid 1.4% International Herald Tribune/Reuters (20 Feb.)

Oil drops near $39 a barrel as traders take profit
After some early gains, oil slid to $38.59 a barrel Friday as traders saw a chance for a quick profit. "Traders were looking for any reason to buy up," said an analyst at Fuel First Consulting. "If we see another piece of bad economic news, prices will come back down again." (20 Feb.)

Sharp oil-price decline creates problems for exporting countries
The steadily falling price of oil is damaging the economies of many major oil-producing countries, throwing their budgets into turmoil and forcing them to put off big energy projects. Canada, Kuwait, Russia and Venezuela have all come face to face with new financial challenges because of plummeting oil revenues. The Washington Post (20 Feb.)

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