Markets & Finance

Europe Closes Mixed, Asia Lower


European stock markets closed mixed on Friday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 lost 18.60 points, or 0.40%, to close at 4624.20, after slightly below expectations third quarter GDP figures from the U.S. The economy grew by 3.7%, up from a 3.3% growth rate in the second quarter, but a dash below analysts' estimates. However, the final reading of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for October was revised higher, while the Chicago PMI reading came in at 68.5 from a 61.9 in September. BP slipped 0.38%. Shell fell 1.55%, as investors focused on its missing oil reserves. Eurotunnel derailed by 5.13% after unveiling a new business plan.

Germany's DAX gained 0.66 points, or 0.02%, to close at 3960.25. In Frankfurt, cooling oil prices helped Lufthansa gain 0.14%, while Adidas-Salomon dipped 1.08%, ahead of third-quarter figures due next week. DaimlerChrysler suffered after a flurry of recommendation downgrades: JP Morgan, UBS and Commerzbank. VW had its 2004 earnings per share forecast cut 13% by Goldman Sachs.

France's CAC-40 lost 15.00 points, or 0.40%, to close at 3706.82. Heavyweights Total and Sanofi pulled the benchmark below breakeven. France Telecom did its best to pare back losses, rising 1.54% on news it had received an offer for its 36% stake in Telediffusion de France (TDF) from the existing shareholders of TDF.

Asian markets ended lower on Friday after China's surprise interest rate hike on Thursday. Shares of companies with strong business links with the country trended lower. Asian shippers, steel names and miners were hit as the move was largely seen to be aimed at slowing demand in China. In Japan, the Nikkei average fell 81.70 points, or 0.75%, to 10771.42 as investors dumped China plays and shares of companies that reported poor earnings outlooks, such as Pioneer.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng lost 58.49 points, or 0.45%, to close at 13,054.66.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gained 78.37 points, or 0.89%, to close at 8,859.41.


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