Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – This week saw fading confidence in economic recovery pull the plug on gains in equity markets.

An unexpected drop in US retail sales, the second consecutive monthly fall, and Bank of England Governor Mervyn King’s outlook of a slow and difficult recovery renewed recession fears among investors, a Citibank weekly market update said.

The Dow closed out the week at 8,248.89, 227 points below last week’s 8,512 close. The NASDAQ fell 95 points to 1,664.19. US markets were hit by the retail sales drop and renewed recession fears. Losses were aggravated by announcements of share sales by among others, Ford Motors and Anadarko Petroleum, prompting fears of earnings dilution.

Asian markets were also hit by the US retail sales drop, and further losses were fuelled by a series of cuts in earnings forecasts, notably by electronics giant Sony and Australian builder Leighton Holdings. The Nikkei fell 292 points from last week’s close to 9,093.73, the lowest close in a two week period.

The BSE Sensex closed out the week 132 points below last week, at 11,909.30. Factory output for the year was recorded at the lowest since 1993, and losses were further fuelled by uncertainty over the country’s elections.

The DSE General Index ended the week 25 points higher at 2,506.89.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-15May09-11:51 am (BST)