International Business



* Stocks closed lower in light to moderate volume, as profit taking canceled out the effect of an encouraging central bank auction of Mexican treasuries.

* An encouraging February trade surplus and the apparent stabilization of the peso in recent days have improved investor confidence, according to traders. The peso finished flat against the dollar Wednesday at 6.8050 to the dollar, with little intra-day fluctuation.

* The Bolsa index has risen 20.2% in dollar terms and up 16% in peso terms in the past week. The market’s week-old rally comes as some economic indicators are reassuring investors that Mexico’s crisis has hit bottom.


The Bolsa Index

Wednesday closes: 1,810.90

Sources: Dow Jones, Bloomberg Business News


Trade sanctions imposed after the Persian Gulf War are estimated to have cost Iraq $60 billion in lost petroleum revenues. The country now pumps only enough oil to meet domestic demand and a little extra for sale to allies such as Jordan. Inflation is rampant, with the food price index at times rising 1,500% on an annualized basis.

Sources: Bank of America, World Information Services