World Markets stabilise

Japan down 4%, but Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore up. Europe up 1% at this hour. Oil at $62. LIBOR continues to fall, but spread still more than 1 point higher than normal.

AP: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, down over 3 per cent early in the session, came back to end 3.3 per cent higher at 14,243.43. Analysts pointed to an interest rate cut by leading bank HSBC Holdings Inc. — the result of recent softening in interbank rates amid persistent liquidity injections from central bankers — as a major catalyst.

South Korea’s main stock index rebounded from a 4.9 per cent fall to close 3.9 per cent higher after the country’s central bank cut interest rates by a quarter of a point — the third cut in less than a month — in a bid to boost an economy hammered by the global financial crisis.

The move followed interest rate cuts by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England overnight.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 stock average pared its early 7 per cent loss to close down 316.14 points, or 3.6 per cent, to 8,583. Investor sentiment took a hit after Japan’s top automaker Toyota slashed its annual forecast to a third of what it was a year ago. Its shares plunged 9.2 per cent.

Early in Europe, benchmarks in Germany, France and Britain were up 1 per cent or more in early trading.

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