Bhutto murder impacts stock markets

The murder of Pakistani opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, caused stock markets to fall in Stockholm and worldwide on Thursday. The Stockholm OMX index closed down 0.4 percent to 349.2.

Just minutes after reports filtered through of the murder of Bhutto, at an election rally in Rawalpindi, the Stockholm exchange shifted from small gains into negative territory and stayed there for the remainder of trading.

Total stock market turnover amounted to a modest 11.7 billion kronor ($1.8 billion).

Stock markets in the United States followed the negative trend with the Dow Jones Industrial index down 1.4 percent to 13,359.6 and the Nasdaq Composite index down 1.8 percent to 2,676.8.

New employment figures, which came in higher than expected, and weak orders for durable goods, contributed to the fall in US stocks.

Stock markets in Asia followed suit with the Tokyo Nikkei 225 index closing down 1.7 percent to 15,307.8. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index was down 1.4 percent and the Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.9 percent. Seoul, Taiwan and Singapore completed the rout with falls of 0.6 percent, 1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.

London, Frankfurt and Paris recorded modest gains of 0.3 percent, 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

The Stockholm Stock Exchange has fallen 6.6 percent so far this year and 2007 is set to be remembered as a tough year for investors. Stockholm is among the worst performing stock markets in 2007.

The final trading day of the year on Friday is not expected to throw up any surprises.