Markets & Finance

Europe Higher


European stock markets were higher on Friday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 20.5 points to 4820.80, as oil prices were lower most of the day. 73 FTSE stocks were up and 27 were down on turnover of 1,933,000,000 shares. Yields on 10-year gilts were up to 4.49% from 4.48% Thursday. The sterling was off at a 7-week low of $1.8678. February Brent crude oil futures were off 6 cents to $45.15. Body Shop International rose after the company said annual earnings should be "marginally ahead" of analysts' forecasts. ITV jumped on speculation Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. may bid for the broadcaster. Elementis spurted after Hanover Investors Partners, a U.S. and U.K. venture-capital company, purchased a 10% stake in U.K. chemicals maker.

In Germany, the DAX Index gained 20.22 points to 4232.36. 17 DAX stocks were up and 12 were down on turnover of 93,131,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds fell to 3.55 from 3.56% yesterday. The euro was down at $1.3090. BMW rose after the company said its sales surged 25% last month and it won more market share in 2004 than any other major European automaker.

France's CAC 40 rose 20.49 points to the 3854.60 level. 30 CAC stocks were up and 10 were down on turnover of 92,154,417 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds were flat at 3.55%. Camaieu soared after Axa Private Equity agreed to buy a controlling stake in the company.

Asian markets were mixed on Friday. In Japan, the Nikkei Nikkei 225 lost 95.17 points, or 0.83%, to close at 11,358.22. The benchmark lost ground with exporters bearing the brunt of selling due to a weakening dollar versus the yen. Banking stocks also trended lower after Merrill Lynch slashed its weighting for major banks to market weight from overweight.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index moved rangebound, gaining a mere 7.97 points, or 0.06%, to close at 13,573.28. Cathay Pacific rose following the company's announcement of strong December traffic numbers.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gained 58.25 points, or 0.65%, to close at 9,067.39.


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