Words almost failed observers on both sides of the Atlantic yesterday as they reacted to the worst American economic data to emerge for some considerable time, reports The Independent.
Consumer confidence slumped to the lowest level in almost two years and home prices scored their worst performance in 16 years, threatening US household spending, spurring talk of recession and prompting calls for the Federal Reserve to keep cutting interest rates.
The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence fell more than forecast in September, to 99.8 from 105.6.
Meanwhile, the American National Association of Realtors said August sales of previously owned houses dropped 4.3%, with inventories at exceptionally high levels, indicating that house sellers are not yet willing to reduce prices by as much as the collapse in demand would warrant.
NORTHERN ROCK SHARES JUMPED almost 14% this morning after a formal statement last night that it had been approached by several potential bidders, reports The Times.
The news came as the beleaguered bank said it had abandoned plans to pay a £60m dividend to shareholders.
The shares rose to 185p after falling to 163p yesterday before the announcement.
The bank said last night that it was cancelling the planned 14.2p-a-share interim dividend due next month.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Northern Rock said that it had received “a number of approaches regarding a variety of potential transactions, including the possibility of an offer being made for the company”.
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