Markets & Finance

Europe Closes Higher


European stock markets closed higher on Friday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 gained 11.50 points, or 0.24%, to close at 4739.80, well below its intraday highs. British Airways led the charge on lower oil, while Easyjet also moved ahead announcing a 25% jump in October passenger traffic from a year ago. The airlines benefit from weaker crude oil prices. Energy groups fell: BP and Shell lost 1.2% and 0.52%, respectively.

In Germany, the DAX gained 22.20 points, or 0.55%, to close at 4063.58. The strong U.S. jobs data, which showed that 337k new jobs were created in October, suggests that the Fed is likely to continue with its policy of quarter point rate hikes for the foreseeable future. The numbers, although good, were a double-edged sword as the dollar fell back against the euro towards the 1.30 level, suggesting tough times for exporters: Porsche a case in point, fell 1.45%. Elsewhere, newsflow remained light with high beta stocks benefiting most from the initial rally above the 4100 mark. German index heavyweights Allianz, Deutsche Bank and HVB all pressed ahead, with Munich Re 1.2% higher, ahead of Monday's earnings report. Lufthansa, rose 2.4%, as a key beneficiary from lower oil prices. Bayer gained 0.8% on a positive note from Morgan Stanley while BASF gained 0.8% on anticipation of another excellent set of results due out on Thursday.

France's benchmark CAC-40 gained 18.54 points, or 0.49%, to close at 3780.99. Sanofi-Aventis, Saint Gobain and Axa led the benchmark. Good news for Sanofi after the FDA approved Eloxatin for adjuvant treatment of patients with stage III colon cancer. Saint Gobain jumped 3.05% as the Financial Times reported that U.S. business leaders could meet as soon as next month to negotiate terms of a revised legal settlement that could end decades of asbestos litigation. Meanwhile, Cap Gemini surged 3.35% after winning a ten-year contract worth 1.6 billion euro from Schneider Electric.

Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday following the re-election of U.S. President George W. Bush, with Japan's Nikkei gaining 58.46 points, or 0.54%, to end at 10946.27. Japanese exporters Toyota Motor and Honda Motor gained 1.73% and 0.58%, respectively, due to eased concerns about U.S. trade and currency policy change following the presidential election in the U.S. Shares of Furukawa Electric, Japan's No.1 fiber optic cable maker, soared 10.77%, helped by a Nihon Keizai report revealing a massive capital spending plan by its client NTT Corp.

In Hong Kong, shares moved rangebound, with the benchmark Hang Seng Index almost flat. The Hang Seng lost 25,58 points, or 0.21%, to close at 13,369.09.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gained 2.13 points, or 0.02%, to close at 8,868.74.


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