Markets & Finance

Europe Stocks End Mixed


European stock markets finished mixed on Wednesday.

London's FTSE 100 index was up 13.7 points, or 0.26%, to 5,215.2 amid signs that mortgage lending is leveling off. The Bank of England members are worried about economic growth; minutes showed policy makers voted 5-4 to leave rates unchanged at the July 7 meeting, while 4 wanted to ease.

Among stocks on the move, GUS rose after company reported second-quarter revenues grew 27%. Blavod Extreme Spirits rose after the company said first-quarter shipments in the U.S. tripled. Invensys rose after UBS raised its rating on stock to buy 2 from neutral 2. LogicaCMG rose after the company reported an orders increase. Clinton Cards fell after company issued profit warning.

Germany's DAX index added 13.96 points, or 0.29%, to 4,784.5.

Munich Re rose as Deutsche Bank recommended the stock after the company said it will boost reserves at its American Re unit. Volkswagen rose after Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein raised its share price forecast to 46 euros from 40 euros. Depfa Bank fell after WestLB downgraded shares to neutral from outperform. Steag Hamatech fell after the company said it expects to have a loss this year as sales will likely fall 10%.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 5.86 points, or 0.13%, to 4,418.39.

Danone was higher in on persistent rumors PepsiCo will make a bid for the company. Credit Agricole rose on a report that George Pauget will become new CEO. Oberthus fell despite higher sales. BioMerieux rose after reporting higher first half sales.

Asian markets closed higher on Wednesday.

In Japan, the Nikkei index rose 24.51 points, or 0.21%, to 11,789.35. Stocks in Tokyo rose on the back of U.S. dollar strength and better-than-expected second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) in China, reports Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 34.96 points, or 0.24%, to 14,602.7, as the index pulled back from early highs. China's second-quarter GDP unexpectedly rose to 9.5% year-over-year, edging up from 9.4% in the first quarter. S&P upgraded China sovereign rating to A-, and Hong Kong's to AA-.

H-Shares -- shares of mainland Chinese companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange -- outperformed as China's strong second-quarter GDP growth boosted sentiment, reports Standard & Poor's MarketScope.


Later, Baby
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