Obama Weekend Address Leads to Market Rallies Worldwide

Stockmarkets in Europe and Asia rallied strongly this morning after President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday pledged to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in a bid to drag America away from another great depression, according to The Guardian UK. CNNMoney.com reported that U.S. stock futures rose sharply this morning, too, on those same hopes along with signs that U.S. automakers would stay out of bankruptcy. CNNMoney.com reported that it looks like a deal is in the works that may keep General Motors, Ford and Chrysler out of bankruptcy court at least through the end of March. Congressional Democrats and the Bush White House had reached an agreement in principle to provide stopgap support for the U.S. auto industry, the article stated. Also on the positive side, expectations that governments worldwide will keep introducing measures to stimulate their economies helped boost investors’ mood worldwide as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rallied 8.7 percent and Japan’s Nikkei finished the session 5.2 percent higher while Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 4 percent in morning trading, according to CNNMoney.com. More good news from across the pond includes sliding oil prices , which pushed British manufacturers’ costs lower in November, official figures showed today, further stoking expectations that the Bank of England could cut its benchmark rate to an all-time low of 1.00 percent in January, according to the Associated Press. The Office for National Statistics said prices at the factory gate — also known as output prices — fell by 0.7 percent in November from the previous month with November’s fall coming on the heel’s of October’s record 1.0 percent decline and pushed the annual rate of increase down to a year low of 5.1 percent from 6.7 percent, the Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, manufacturers’ raw material costs — also known as input prices — slid 3.3 percent in November, pushing the annual rate of increase down to 7.5 percent from 15.4 percent, according to the article. AFP reported that sales by German automaker Audi rose 0.4 percent last month and for the January-November period, the high-end unit of Europe’s largest auto company, said sales rose 3 percent from a year earlier to 920,700, according to AFP. On a down note, Reuters reported that 3M Co. is cutting 1,800 jobs in the fourth quarter, postponing “merit pay” in 2009 and ordering some workers to take vacation time or time without pay during the last two weeks of December in addition to the 1,000 job cuts announced during the third quarter.