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THE first quarter of 2003 has been a bad one for stock markets in the United States and Europe, with all major market indices ending the period substantially lower.
MAJOR stock markets in Asia ended the first quarter of the year substantially lower as concerns over the economic impact from the war in Iraq weighed on investor sentiment.
DESPITE the biggest weekly gains seen on Wall Street in 20 years, Asian stock markets mostly failed to play catch-up and instead ended broadly lower yesterday, jolted by news of reverses suffered by US-led forces and rising coalition casualties in Iraq.
CLOUDS of uncertainty returned to global stock markets yesterday after investors#8217; initial hopes for a short war in Iraq were dashed by US President George W. Bush#8217;s warning that the conflict could be more difficult and prolonged than anticipated.
MOST stock markets around the world continued to rally yesterday on the belief that war in Iraq would break out at any moment, removing the element of uncertainty that has for months eroded investor sentiment.
ASIAN stock markets, already weighed down by growing fears of war in Iraq, failed to take the cue from Wall Street's overnight rally and continued their descent yesterday, with domestic issues eroding investor confidence in key bourses.