European bourses closed lower Wednesday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index finished down 44.2 points, or 1.01%, to 4,335.40. The pound sterling is at an 11-year high vs. the dollar. Chancellor of Exchequer Gordon Brown said that the U.K. would have to borrow more money to finance government spending programs. The Bank of England's Kate Barker says that homebuilders are limiting housing supply to keep prices high, and has called for radical steps to increase supply.
In Paris, the CAC 40 index dropped 17.27 points, or 0.5%, to 3,438.85. Remy Cointreau, Renault, and Rhodia stocks weighed on the index.
Germany's DAX index had lost 25.26 points, or 0.66%, to 3,820.92, on some profit taking. Some traders were nervous as Chancellor Schroeder struggles to win legislative approval for a $19 billion tax cut. German October exports fell 6.6%, the largest decline in 10 years.
Asian markets finished mixed, with Japan's Nikkei 225 index taking a 2.11% hit to finish below the 10,000 mark. The index lost 213.72 points, to finish at 9,910.56. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index crept 4.74 points higher, or 0.04%, to finish at 12,398.38.
Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX fell 88.82 points, or 1.11%, to 7,887.12.