A record 4.75 million Spaniards were unemployed in March, with
the service sectors shedding the most jobs. In February, the
Spanish unemployment rate stood at 23.6%, the highest in the
While the government is implementing measures designed to cut
unemployment -- including reducing severance pay and
inflation-based pay increases -- the moves have angered unions,
which organized a general strike last Thursday.
Markets across Europe were mostly down as investors
worry about Spain's ability
to tackle its deficit woes in the face of sustained and
Spanish stocks (
) led the way with a 1.36% loss. By early afternoon today,
London's FTSE had fallen 0.28%, the German DAX had slipped 0.29%
and the French CAC 40 had depreciated 0.71%. The euro fell 0.11%
to $1.3306, while the British pound depreciated 0.19% to
Overnight in Seoul, the KOSPI (
) climbed 0.99% amid renewed optimism in the Asian technology
, the world's largest memory chip manufacturer, announced it
would invest $7 billion to build its first chip factory in China.
The chips will help satisfy Chinese domestic demand as well as
global orders for smart phones, tablets and MP3 players.
Shares of Samsung jumped 2.77% while rival LG slumped 1.90%.
Tokyo's Nikkei (
) took a hit of 0.59%. Beleaguered camera and medical equipment
manufacturer Olympus has named Akihiro Nambu, previously the
company's investor relations chief, as its top financial officer.
The decision comes just months after some of Olympus' most
prominent shareholders urged for him and other executives to be
fired over their role in a $1.7 billion accounting scandal.
Olympus stock rose 0.08%.
Elsewhere in the region, Chinese stocks (
) climbed 0.47% and Australian shares (
) rose 0.18%. Singaporean shares (
) edged down 0.04%.
The Chinese yuan slipped 0.01% to 6.2975 to the dollar, while
the Japanese yen appreciated 0.11% to 82.14 against the