World Markets End Mostly Higher

European and Asian equity markets appeared to be stable after wild swings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

World equity markets appeared to be stable after wild swings on Tuesday and Wednesday. European stock markets were calm two days after the surprise attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

As expected, the ECB decided to leave interest rates unchanged at 4.25%, saying a rate cut now would constitute a panic response to terrorist attacks in the US. However, hopes remained high in the US that the Fed could possibly cut rates soon to bolster consumer confidence.

London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange index rose 61.50 points, or 1.26%, to 4,943.60, amid a report that retail sales in August rose 0.5%, as expected, compared with 6.3% a year ago.

France's CAC 40 slipped 0.39 points, or 0.01%, to 4,113.87. Insurers were under pressure, as do oil companies. A flight to defensive stocks continued. Drug makers Sanofi-Synthelabo and Aventis posted gains.

Germany's DAX added 57.20 points, or 1.32%, to 4,392.40. Insurers Allianz and Munich Re both estimated that their share of the liabilities would be under 1 billion euros each, but German stocks overall remain volatile.

Japan's stock market recovered Thursday after closing sharply lower on Wednesday. The Nikkei 225 finished at 9,613.09 points, up 0.03%. On Wednesday, the index touched a low of 9,476.84, marking the lowest level seen since the Dec. 15, 1983. Telecommunications, thought to be one of the sectors least affected by expected lower U.S. demand in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, led gainers. Shares of other companies who rely primarily on the domestic economy for earnings, including utilities and construction companies, also rose.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong ended up 75.59 points, or 0.80%, to 9,569.21. Airline carrier Cathay Pacific nose-dived 19% in the previous session, but managed to end Thursday's session about 5% higher.