European stock markets closed lower on Tuesday. London's FTSE 100 index was off 10.90 points, or 0.25%, to 4,418 following reports that U.K. first quarter business investment rose 0.3% while car production fell 1.3% in the three months to April and that manufacturing pay settlements hit the highest level in three years. Vodafone was lower after reporting higher earning and the company announced a buyout of Vodafone Japan.
Germany's DAX index was off 39.77 points, or 1.03%, to 3,828.27 as German Ifo business climate index eased to 96.1 in May from 96.3 in April. Bayer and BASF were lower on worries earnings could suffer from higher oil prices. CDV Software Entertainment was lower after saying first quarter sales fell 24%.
France's CAC-40 index was down 18.29 points, or 0.50% to 3,610.53 on worries about higher oil prices and a report that French consumer prices rose 0.3% in April. Axa, France Telecom, and Alcatel were lower while Carrefour and Casino were higher following a Financial Times report that Wal-Mart (WMT ) will consider making large acquisitions in Europe.
Asian markets finished mixed. In Japan, the Nikkei index lost 138.71 points, or 1.25%, to close at 10,962.93 with big banks sliding after they gave disappointing outlooks for this year, according to S;amp&P Marketscope. UFJ Holdings fell after the bank posted an annual loss due to write-offs of bad loans, but the bank expects to turn profitable this year. Japan's three other top banks trended lower despite posting an annual profit as they forecast flat to lower earnings for this business year. Softbank shares bucked the downtrend after the company said it was considering buying into Japan Telecom, which is controlled by U.S. buyout firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC. Nippon Oil rose along with its peers after a local newspaper reported Japanese oil wholesalers would soon up gasoline prices.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 29.59 points, 0.25%, to close at 11,692.937 In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 1.0% to 11,549.21 at midday close as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the Buddha's Birthday holiday Wednesday. Property issues trended lower on profit-taking, ahead of a public land auction which is to be held later this afternoon, according to S&P Marketscope. In Taiwan, the TAIEX rose 0.27% to 5958.38 on the back of gains in techs, plastics, chemical names and paper stocks.