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Rate cuts boost stocks


October 31, 200

Rate cuts boost stocks
World stock markets leapt on Thursday, with Asian markets rising about 10 percent, as interest rate cuts sparked bargain hunting after months of misery over the global financial crisis, reported AFP.

Hong Kong shares rocketed 12.8 percent and Tokyo soared 9.96 percent – the fourth biggest gain ever as a weaker yen provided a boost to exporters.

Investors shrugged off a weak overnight lead from Wall Street after the US Federal Reserve slashed its key lending rate by a half-point to 1.0 percent.

Seoul surged 11.95 percent, their biggest-ever rise, and Singapore gained 7.8 percent after the Fed reached a currency swap deal with central banks of South Korea , Singapore, Brazil and Mexico to help them cope with the credit crisis.

Investors welcomed interest rate cuts in the United States, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – part of efforts by global banks to avert a financial system meltdown. There was speculation Japan's central bank might follow suit.

In Europe, the Frankfurt stock market gained 2.43 percent, London was up 0.67 percent and Paris rose 0.91 percent in morning deals.

"Last night's (US) rate cut, although full expected, will have encouraged more (investors) to move from cash into equities as they hunt out a better yield," said Iain Griffiths, a dealer with CMC Markets in London.

"Although with the fundamental economic outlook still weak, stocks may well remain constrained," he warned.

The US central bank also gave an unusually bleak assessment of the economy on Wednesday, suggesting there could be further rate cuts ahead as it battles to revive economic growth and stave off the threat of deflation.

As efforts continued to tackle the credit crunch, the International Monetary Fund created a new short-term liquidity facility for countries battered by the crisis.

The International Monetary Fund executive board said the emergency tool was "to establish quick-disbursing financing for countries with strong economic policies that are facing temporary liquidity problems in the global capital markets."

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