* The Mexican peso slumped another 5.4% Wednesday and stocks gyrated amid skepticism about the government’s ability to control its financial crisis. The peso finished near a record low at 5.575 to the dollar. It has plunged 38% since Dec. 20.
* Mexican stocks initially plunged with the peso but recovered much of their losses late in the day on hopes that a visit by Finance Minister Guillermo Ortiz to New York will restore confidence in the month-old administration of President Ernesto Zedillo. The benchmark Bolsa index fell 10.68, or 0.47%, to 2,269.87
* The main treasury bill, the 28-day Cetes, rose two percentage points to 33%.
The Bolsa Index
Wednesday closes: 2,269.87
Sources: Dow Jones; Bloomberg Business News
SPOTLIGHT: ITALY The economy grew steadily in the 1980s, but Italy is now in a deep recession, with unemployment at more than 11%. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has proposed austerity measures, including cuts in Italy’s generous pension system, to reduce a budget deficit caused by government spending on services.
Sources: Bank of America, World Information Services