Aug. 11 - U.S. stock futures limit falls in volatile Asian stock markets while gold climbs above $1,800, reflecting fears over Europe's worsening financial crisis. Toshi Maeda reports.
Rising U.S. stock futures limited losses in Asian stock markets Thursday (August 11), with Seoul stocks rebounding from intra-day losses of over 3 percent to close higher. U.S. stock futures rose as much as 2 percent, an indication of sharp gains on Wall Street later Thursday But overall trading was volatile, with fears that Europe's debt crisis could now spread to France. Japan's Nikkei share average trimmed initial losses of more than 2 percent to close down 0.6 percent - although the index is still not far from a five-month low hit earlier this week. Sydney stocks closed flat, capping a day of volatile trade that saw the index trade in a 100 point range. A broader benchmark index for Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan pared losses after dropping by nearly 2.5 percent. The index has fallen 12 percent so far in August. The caution and volatility supported safe havens like the yen and gold, which hit a new high of $1,813 an ounce. Gold has risen 11 percent so far this month and is up 27 percent this year. The yen soared above the 77 range to the dollar, prompting Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan to hint at another round of intervention. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER NAOTO KAN SAYING: "We've been looking closely at the currency exchange market which has been showing somewhat one-sided moves. As the finance minister said, we will keep watching closely on currency moves and respond to it accordingly." The euro was still vulnerable, especially against the yen and Swiss franc, but recovered some ground as Asian equities edged up from their lows. Toshi Maeda, Reuters.