THE NEWS WRAP: World financial markets slump in response to Japan’s nuclear crisis

World financial markets slumped yesterday in response to the nuclear crisis in Japan, with analysts predicting that the Reserve Bank could cut interest rates as a result.


The value of Japanese shares plummeted by 10.5%, while the Chinese and Thai markets also fell. European markets were down 2.5% in early trading last night, with the US falling 1.5%.


The downturn has almost certainly put paid to an RBA interest rate rise in 2011, say analysts, with some predicting that rates could be slashed.


The pay divide


The pay divide between men and women is as wide as ever, with females earning 33% less than their male counterparts during their lifetime.


New Commonwealth Bank research found that women have a 20-year peak earning period during their lives, compared to 40-year peak earning period of men. Women are also more concerned over the state of the economy.


Coles’ milk wars


Coles has denied that it has hurt farmers in its ongoing milk price war with Woolworths. In a submission to a Senate inquiry into the dairy industry, Coles said that it increased the price it paid processors in late January




The Dow Jones industrial average fell 125.29 points to 11,867.87. The Australian dollar was badly hit, sliding to 99.14 US cents.


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