In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 21.40 to 5359.20, even though the government reported that U.K. July Industrial Production fell 0.3%. October Brent crude oil was a bit lower in volatile trading as U.S. crude and gasoline prices fell. Scottish Power rose as investors speculated about a takeover; E.ON said it was considering a bid but Scottish Power said it hasn't received one yet. Antofagasta fell after UBS cut its recommendation on the stock to "neutral" from "buy". Meanwhile Brammer rose on higher first half earnings.
Germany's DAX Index rose 58.39 to 4968.28, as investors saw signs of hope that the country's economy is recovering. German July manufacturing orders improved a more than expected 3.7%, thanks to a 7.7% surge in export orders and retail sales that rose for the sixth consecutive month. Among companies on the index, MorphoSys rose on a report that the company will start a research project with Johnson & Johnson's Centocor. Porsche rose after CSFB reiterated its "outperform" recommendation on the carmaker. Deutsche Bank rose after Merrill Lynch raised its recommendation on the stock to "buy" from "neutral."
In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 42.46 to 4472.55, as European retail sales rose in August to their highest level in least 20 months. Among France's heavyweights, Societe Generale rose after UBS put a buy recommendation on the stock. Axa rose on higher first half earnings. Business Objects rose after Susquehanna Financial Group raised its rating on stock to "positive" from "neutral". Euler Hermes rose on a 36% rise in first half earnings.
Asia didn't fare as well. The Japanese Nikkei 225 index fell 35.45 pts (0.28%) to 12,599.43. Stocks in Tokyo gave up their morning gains to close lower on the back of profit-taking, following a rally during the past four days. The broad-based TOPIX index fell 0.3% to 1286.29, matching the percentage loss in the Nikkei 225.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 67.05 pts (0.44%) to 15,160.78. The market weakened in the afternoon although the Hang Seng index recovered from its worst level in the final hour of trading. Shares of banks and select property companies fell on profit taking after having shown recent price strength.