Global markets take wild ride as Fed makes surprise cut

NEW YORK, Jan 22, 2008 (AFP) – Global stock markets saw some relief from the mayhem of the past few days as the US Federal Reserve’s surprise rate cut helped stem the massive losses seen around the world.

In a wildly volatile day for markets, Wall Street ended with moderate losses while European shares closed mainly higher a day after their worst session since 2001. Earlier, Asian markets plunged for a second day.

Traders said the Federal Reserve cut of three-quarters of a percentage point to 3.5 percent was welcomed as a dramatic assertion that policymakers were prepared to make tough calls to bolster growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 1.06 percent at 11,971.19 points, rebounding from a loss of over 400 points at the open. The blue-chip index has tumbled almost 10 percent in the year to date.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped 2.04 percent to 2,292.27 and the broad-market Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 1.11 percent to 1,310.50 as the New York market saw its fifth straight losing session.

London’s FTSE 100 index of leading shares closed 2.90 percent higher at 5,740.10 and the Paris CAC 40 index closed 2.07 percent higher at 4,842.54.

But the Frankfurt DAX end