Sun, Jul 18, 2004 - Page 10 News List

European indexes steady as oil depresses sentiment


European stock markets closed little changed Friday as concerns about the outlook for company profits and high oil prices weighed on sentiment.

In London the FTSE 100 index nudged 0.03 percent lower to finish at 4,339.2, in Paris the CAC 40 slipped 0.15 percent to 3,610.40 while in Frankfurt the DAX eased 0.03 percent to end the week at 3,845.93.

The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone shares was 0.09 percent lower at 2,713.27 points.

The euro stood at US$1.2442.

Barclays Stockbrokers investment strategist Henk Potts said a number of worries were on dealers' minds, including "the constant black cloud of terrorism and political instability, and also the oil price spiking up."

Oil prices are trading less than a dollar a barrel shy of record highs above 42 dollars seen in New York last month.

The second-quarter company reporting season, particularly in the US, was also proving somewhat disappointing, Potts said.

"The numbers have been okay but the outlook has been extremely cautious at best. That's what the market's concerned about."

Finnish mobile telephone maker Nokia stoked such concerns on Thursday with a warning that its profitability will remain under pressure in the third quarter.

Upbeat economic news was offset in the US by concerns over oil prices in morning trading in New York.

Shortly after most European markets closed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.19 percent at 10,182.48 while the NASDAQ composite was off 0.34 percent to 1,906.21.

Technology shares shed most of their gains, chalked up in morning trading thanks to robust results from South Korea's Samsung Electronics.

In Paris STMicroelectronics eased 0.10 percent to 16.23 euros although in Frankfurt rival Infineon gained 1.16 percent to 9.80 euros.

Nokia shares fell a further 1.30 percent to 9.85 euros in Helsinki.

Shares in Dutch electronics giant Philips fell 1.33 percent to 20.02 euros amid disappointment among some analysts about the pricing for an initial public offering of its joint venture LG Philips LCD, the world's second-largest flat panel display maker.

The venture set the price at US$15 per American Depositary Receipt (ADR), two of which make up one common stock, at the bottom of the previously indicated range of US$15 to US$18.

Analyst Bert Siebrand at Bank Oyens and van Eeghen in Amsterdam said the IPO had turned out to be a "major disappointment."

Elsewhere in Europe, Madrid's Ibex-35 rose 0.35 percent to 8,010.9 points.

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