Germany's DAX Index rose 9.29 points to 4911.17 amid a short covering rebound from Tuesday's slide. Deutsche Beteiligungs rose as the company, which had a strong third quarter, said it expects its full-year earnings to rise. Escada rose after raising its fiscal 2005 earnings forecast. Merck KGaA fell after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to underweight from overweight. Infineon Technologies fell after X-Fab Semiconductor Foundries said it won't take over Infineon's Munich-based chip plant because there's no prospect of it making money.
France's CAC 40 rose 17.02 points to 4470.43 on short covering and bargain hunting. Renault rose on a report that European August car sales rose 7.5%. Assurances Generales rose after an offical said Allianz might buy 42% of the Assurances it doesn't already own. Bourbon rose after the company reported that its first half net income rose. Provimi rose after reporting a 39% rise in its first half net income.
In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 9.4 points to 5347.4 in a seesaw session after the European Central Bank's Trichet took a hawkish stance on inflation. The development was aided a bit by reports that the UK August unemployment rate was unchanged and jobless claims rose less than expected.
Among stocks on the move, Caffe Nero Group rose after the company reported higher annual profits. Genetix was up with help from a higher earnings report. SIG, which posted a 25% first half earnings increase, headed higher. Tullow Oil was higher on strong first half profits. Xaar was lower after Panmure Gordon lowered its rating on the stock to hold from buy. Raft International rose after signing a distribution agreement with U.S.-based Rome Corp. Sutton Harbour Holdings rose after forecasting higher earnings.
Meanwhile, stocks in Seoul rallied, sending the KOSPI index to an all-time high of 1170.77. Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor led advancing issues by index points on speculation of rising demand for memory chips. Brokerages extended recent gains on bets that strong stock market performance would boost volumes and earnings by extension.
Japan was among the exceptions to the generally positive trend. Stocks fell in Tokyo on profit taking after gains over the past few days pushed the country's major indices to four-year highs. The Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 67.70 points (0.52%) to 12,834.25. Banking plays such as Mitsubishi Tokyo and Sumitomo Mitsui were weak after leading the market higher recently. Others to take a hit were exporters including Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Toyota Motor, and Sony.