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Dow up, NASDAQ down: Morning market insights

The New York Stock Exchange was mixed over the weekend as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was flat. The Dow was up and the NASDAQ down as technology shares lost ground.

The S&P500 Index was flat, finishing down 0.12% to 1378.53.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.50% to 13029.30.

The NASDAQ Index fell 0.24% to 3000.45.

US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner addressed the International Monetary Fund’s policy steering committee in Washington DC over the weekend.

“The success of the next phase of the crisis response will hinge on Europe’s willingness and ability, together with the European Central Bank, to apply its tools and processes creatively, flexibly and aggressively to support countries as they implement reforms and stay ahead of markets.”

“The IMF can and should play a complementary role in a comprehensive and well-designed European response,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

Geithner welcomed China’s move to make its currency more flexible, but said the process of correcting the misalignment of China’s exchange rate remained incomplete, with further appreciation is necessary.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil was down 0.04% to $US103.84 a barrel overnight. Gold was down 0.70% to be trading at $US1642.10 an ounce.

The Australian dollar was buying $US1.0375 at 8.15am AEST.

Europe

European stocks recovered slightly over the weekend as Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported the Italian government planned to cut spending by 20 billion euros ($AU25.4 billion).

The government will reportedly slash rent costs by relocating to vacant public buildings and bringing together agencies.

The interior and defence ministers are reportedly opposing cuts to their departments, the Milan-based Corriere reported.

The London FTSE 100 closed up 0.48% to 5772.15.

The German DAX was up 1.18%, or 78.90 points, to 6750.12.

The European Stoxx50 index rose 1.16% to 2311.27.

French elections

The first round of the French presidential election was held yesterday with Socialist challenger Francois Hollande winning the first round with 28.4% of the vote.

President Nicolas Sarkozy finished second among the 10 candidates, with 25.5%.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the anti-immigration National Front party, came in third place with 20% – her party’s best ever showing.

It is the first time a serving French president has been beaten in the first round.

Sarkozy and Hollande will face off on May 6 for the French presidency.

Sarkozy is France’s most unpopular post-World War II president. With the country experiencing its highest rate of joblessness in 12 years and an economy barely growing, Hollande promises more spending and higher taxes.

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