Markets & Finance

Europe, Asia Lower


European stock markets were lower Tuesday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index fell 17.90 points to 4892.40 following a report U.K. retail sales grew in April at the slowest level in 10 years due to a housing industry slowdown. The index was also hurt by hedge fund trouble rumors. 67 FTSE stocks fell, 30 were up on turnover of 1.655 billion shares. Yields on 10-year gilts were down to 4.49% from 4.55% yesterday. The sterling was up at $1.8817. May Brent crude oil futures higher at $51.93. British Airways and Imperial Chemical Industries fell on higher oil. Kingfisher, Marks & Spencer, Boots Group fell on weak retail sale report.

In Germany, the Dax index lost 41.28 points to 4251.13 even though the government reported exports rose more than expected 2.1% after falling 3% in February. The index was restrained by higher oil prices and rumors of hedge fund trouble. 22 DAX stocks were down, 8 were up on turnover of 108,707,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds were down to 3.34% from 3.43% yesterday. The euro was up at $1.2872. Munic Re, the world's largest reinsurer, and Allianz, Europe's largest insurer, both dropped. Truckmaker MAN also fell on higher oil. Adva AG Optical Networking rose after company said its operating margin will be between 9% to 12% of sales. Clariant fell on report of lower sales.

France's CAC 40 fell 19.94 to 4000.25 on higher oil prices and economic uncertainty. 32 were CAC stocks were down, and 8 were up on turnover of 81,995,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds were down to 3.41% from 3.47% yesterday. Havas fell after the company said first-quarter sales dropped 7% after it sold units and lost business from Intel. Akka Technologies rose after reporting first-quarter sales rose 32%. Groupe Finuchem rose after company reported first-quarter sales rose 39%.

Asian markets were lower also Tuesday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 eased 11.86 points, or 0.1%, to 11,159.46. Tokyo shares edged lower Tuesday, pressured by losses in IT groups. Investors were also cautious ahead of Toyota Motor's and NTT DoCoMo's financial results.

Hong Kong stocks fell on Tuesday with the benchmark giving up 0.5%, or 66.71 points, to 14,018.38. Of the 33 HSI constituents, 23 fell while only seven gained. Top laggards were Esprit, PCCW, and COSCO Pacific. Hutchison Whampoa has exercised its rights to accelerate completion of the acquisition of 20% and 15% interest in 3G UK from DoCoMo and KPN.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P lost 67.61 points, or 0.71%, to close at 9,493.59.


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