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Global Markets and Economic Update

August 17, 1995

FOREIGN STOCK MARKETS

Stock index trends in native currencies and in U.S. dollars adjusted for currency fluctuations. The dollar-adjusted returns are what U.S. investors would realize. Source: Morgan Stanley Capital International (Tuesday closes)

MEXICAN STOCKS * The Bolsa index slid 20.01 points, or 0.8%, to 2,502.63 on Wednesday after the government reported that the economy shrank 10.5% in the second quarter, a decline worse than what many analysts had expected. * The government's austerity program after last year's peso crash was expected to result in a sharp contraction in the economy this year, but the second-quarter slump reminded investors of the severity of Mexico's crisis. * Despite the bad news, some experts said the stock market's relatively mild decline suggests that many investors think the worst is over for the economy. Sources: Bloomberg Business News, Reuters

SPOTLIGHT: SAUDI ARABIA

The weakness in oil prices in the '90s has left the country strapped for cash. It is slashing its generous social services, which have long appeased groups unhappy with the nation's undemocratic rule. Saudi Arabia's opening to the West has brought a rise in crime and fed unrest among Islamic fundamentalists.

Source: Bank of America World Information Services

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