World markets fall on weak US housing

World stock markets fell in the wake of poor housing data.

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    A worker constructed a house Tuesday in Gilbert, Ariz. Applications for home building permits fell by the largest amount since the spring.
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•Weak housing fallout: World markets faltered in the wake of weak US housing data. Home-building permits fell by the largest amount in five months, the Commerce Department had reported, a discouraging signal for US economic recovery -- and markets from Europe to Asia.

•Luxury sales: In China, the market for high-end goods is expected to surge by 12 percent this year, bucking the downward trend seen in other major economies buffeted by the financial crisis. The world's largest markets -- the US and Japan -- are forecast to see sales drop by 16 percent and 10 percent respectively.

•Bad auto management? In the midst of the worst downturn in car sales in decades, GM's and Chrysler's management was "stunningly poor," the former head of the Obama administration's auto task force wrote in a Fortune article. Steven Rattner said he was particularly shocked at GM's docility and arrogance, but added that the automaker bailouts were crucial to keeping the economy from collapsing.

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•Australian recovery: A leading economic indicator posted its first positive reading in more than a year, signaling the country was quickly heading toward recovery. The index was rebounding more quickly than similar readings after two previous recessions in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

•In my backyard: India’s economy is expected to grow 6.8 percent in the current financial year, according to a government council, spurred by a rebound in industrial production.This is slower than the galloping 9 percent average in the previous three years but slightly higher than the rate in 2008-09. But the output from agriculture, the economic mainstay for a vast majority of Indians, is predicted to shrink 2 percent due to an adverse monsoon.

Anuj Chopra  is a Monitor correspondent in Pune, India. For a look at the coming sticker shock in building materials, see Time to fix up your house?

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