Markets & Finance

Europe and Asia Lower


European stock markets closed lower on Monday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index lost 35 points to the 4726 level as Rightmove reported today that U.K. property prices fell by 1.7% on average on the month through to mid-November. 88 FTSE stocks were down and 12 were up, on turnover of 556,648,000 shares. Yields on 10-year gilts were off to 4.65% from 4.67% Friday. The sterling was lower at $1.8554. December Brent crude oil futures were up 45 cents to $45.35 and gasoil was up $2.25 to $452.00. BHP Billiton and Antofagasta lower on report Chinese imports of copper declined last month, indicating weaker demand in the world's largest consumer of the metal. Cambridge Antibody Technology Group surged after AstraZeneca bought a 19.9% stake in the company. AstraZeneca was lower. Cable & Wireless was lower after Credit Suisse lowered their recommendation on the stock to "underperform" from "neutral."

Germany's DAX Index fell 33 points to the 4102 level as the International Monetary Fund cut 2005 world economic growth forecasts due to higher oil prices and the U.S. budget deficit. 30 DAX stocks were down and none were up, on turnover of 43,907,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds were off to 3.75% from 3.78% on Friday. The euro was up at $1.3031. Bayer AG lower after company's plan to buy Roche Holding's non-prescription health-care unit won approval from European antitrust regulators. DaimlerChrysler was lower following newspaper report the company sued its insurers after they denied claims to cover losses caused by the August 2003 blackout that shut 45% of its North American plants. Deutsche Lufthansa was lower after denying that it was talking to Swiss International about a merger.

France's CAC 40 was off 39 points to the 3760 level as oil prices rose. 38 CAC stocks were down and 2 were up, on turnover of 38,718,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds were down to 3.81% from 3.83% Friday. STMicroelectronics and Alcatel were lower as Goldman Sachs predicts a "disappointing" semiconductor environment next year.

Asian markets tanked on Monday on concerns over the US$'s weakness against regional currencies and its impact on corporate earnings. Asian tech names trended lower after Goldman Sachs downgraded its outlook for the U.S. chip sector to Cautious from Neutral, which sent the Philadelphia semiconductor index 3.09% lower on Friday. Japan's Nikkei plunged 233.45 points, or 2.11%, its biggest percentage drop since Aug. 13, to 10948.39. Consumer electronics-maker Sony, which generates two-thirds of its sales overseas, fell 2.65%, while semiconductor testing devices maker Advantest dropped 3.27%. Tokyo Electron lost 1.9% after Goldman Sachs cut its rating to In-line from Outperform in light of a severe order environment for the next year. Mizuho Financial edged down 1.79% after it reported an 8.4% fall in profit for the first half of the year.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 12.92 points, or 0.09%, to close at 13,800.60.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gained 32.08 points, or 0.36%, to close at 8.991.48.


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