Markets & Finance

Europe, Asia Lower


European stock markets were closed lower Wednesday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index lost 17.00 points to 4875.40 after the Bank of England trimmed this year's economic growth forecast, citing lower consumer spending. but market got boost from report U.K.'s March trade deficit narrowed to the lowest level in a year. 57 FTSE stocks fell and 39 rose on turnover of 1,539 billion shares. Yields on 10-year gilts fell to 4.42% from 4.49% yesterday. Sterling was off at $1.8732. May Brent crude oil futures fell. Chrysalis Group fell after UBS cut its share-price target to 158 pence from 188 pence. But Dimension Data Holdings rose on strong first half profits.

In Germany, the Dax index lost 6.97 points to 4244.16 even though oil futures prices fell. 15 Dax stocks rose and 15 fell on turnover of 103,359,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds fell to 3.31% from 3.36% yesterday. The euro was off at $1.2807. Schering fell after U.S. delayed until 2008 approval of its Bonefos cancer medicine. TUI rose after company said pretax profit before goodwill amortization at the main tourism business will climb to about 700 million euro by 2008 from 362 million euros last year. Aixtron fell after the company posted a net first quarter loss. Carl Zeiss Meditec fell after the company offered 2.84 million common shares for 14.30 euros each to boost its capital.

France's CAC 40 fell 20.72 to 3939.53 as French Industrial Production fell in March, adding to worries about European economic slowdown. 27 CAC stocks fell, and 12 rose on turnover of 92,288,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds fell to 3.36% from 3.41% yesterday. Pernod Ricard rose on strong first quarter results. Actielec Technologies rose after company said first quarter sales rose 2%. Devoteam rose after company said its first quarter sales rose 33%. Touax rose after the company said its first quarter revenue rose 40%.

Asian markets were also lower Wednesday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 38.76 points, or 0.4%, to 11,120.70. Tokyo shares fell for the third straight day, tracking Wall Street's losses overnight. Along with the decline in the Nikkei 225, the broader TOPIX index fell 0.4% to 1,145.3. Suzuki Motor sank 2.5% after it forecast a decline in earnings for this fiscal 2005. Toyoto Motor came off 0.8% on lower-than-expected earnings. The car maker's profit for the first quarter of this year dropped 17%. Softbank Corp came off 2% after the internet service provider recorded another annual loss due to higher promotional costs.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped 78.58 points, or 0.6%, to 13,939.80, as speculation on Chinese yuan revaluation cooled down. The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 0.56% to 13,939.8, with no blue chips rising. The day's total mainboard turnover stood at a modest $14 billion (hong kong). Top laggards were Wheelock, China Mobile, and China Unicom.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P lost 47.17 points, or 0.50%, to close at 9,446.42.


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