Germany's DAX gained 66.19 points, or 1.61%, to close at 4183.41. Frankfurt extended gains, shrugging off concerns that the dollar's continued weakness against the euro, which will hinder exporters. Locally, Infineon gained 4.3%, after Hewlett-Packard reported sales of PCs and servers setting a record. Siemens extended earlier gains after the Austrian monopoly agency made positive comments regarding the VA Tech takeover, and Motorola said it sees 3G sales quadrupling next year. Deutsche Telecom is reported to be selling its remaining 7.3% stake in SES Global. It also benefits from Morgan Stanley which increased its benchmark weighting. Auto stocks lagged on the dollar's weakness, but DaimlerChrysler recovered later as the overall market tracked higher. KarstadtQuelle gained 2.6% after saying it has got the green light from creditor banks regarding an extension to existing loans. Metro provided details of how it will dispose of 137 Extra supermarket stores. Linde said it has lost a patent to supply nitric oxide to hospitals. Techem gained 2.6% after it said fiscal 2004 profit will rise.
In France, the CAC-40 gained 49.87 points, or 1.31%, to close at 3844.14, helped by advances on Wall Street. At home, tech plays Cap Gemini, Alcatel, and STM were amongst the strongest percentage gainers, as positive guidance from Motorola 3G sales for 2005 gave support to chipmakers. Carrefour and Casino continued to build as it appeared less likely that reform of the Galland law would be as dramatic as at first feared. On the results front, Vivendi's dipped 0.09% despite solid third-quarter numbers, and increased 2004 adjusted net profit guidance. Dexia disappointed, as in-line third-quarter net profit of 386 million euro was flattered by the absence of provisions versus expectations of 30 million euro in provisions. Credit Agricole posted third-quarter results after the close. After succumbing to sharp declines, Alstom rebounded 10.64%, ahead of interims tomorrow before the open. Figures from Sodexho and Technip are also due.
Asian markets finished mixed, with Japan's Nikkei ending fractionally lower while South Korea's KOSPI rose on the back of a strong rally in technology names. The Nikkei average fell 30.46 points, or 0.27%, to 11131.29, mirroring losses on Wall Street overnight. Exporters dropped on worries over a stronger yen, with Honda Motor sliding 2.44% while Toyota Motor shed 1.44%. Oil explorer INPEX, which debuted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today, rose to 549,000 yen compared with its IPO price of 465,000 yen. Electronics maker Pioneer fell 0.72% after a local newspaper reported it would invest about 27 billion yen to build a new production line for plasma TVs.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up a touch, with properties, industrials and utilities posting gains. The benchmark gained 78.90 points, or 0.57%, to close at 13,824.98. S&P Asian Equity Research downgraded Lenovo Group to 2-STARS (SELL) from 4-STARS (Buy) with a 12-month target price of $2.50 Hong Kong.
Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gained 35.60 points, or 0.40%, to close at 8,987.60.