London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index finished down 13.8 points, or 0.31%, to 4,378.20. Like its Brussels-based counterpart, the Bank of England left its key interest rate unchanged Thursday at 3.75%. Most observers see the BoE hiking rates early in 2004, reports S&P's Marketscope.
In Paris, the CAC 40 lost 5.38 points, or 0.15%, to 3,496.55. Germany's DAX index was down 0.88 point, or 0.02%, to 3,874.78. October German manufacturing orders beat expectations, up 2.0% month over month, following September's 1.9% gain.
Asian stock markets ended mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 103.6 points, or 1.00%, to 10,429.99. The Ministry of Finance's quarterly survey, which was released before the morning open, showed that confidence was regained in the October-December quarter among companies, amid robust exports and profits, reports MMS International. Tokyo Electron gained 1.2%, Advantest added 1.69%, Canon edged up 2.57%, and Toshiba Corp. increased 2.69%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index shed 18.53 points, or 0.15%, to finish at 12,342.65.
Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX rose 33.46 points, or 0.42%, to 7,993.34.