Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Technology stocks, financials bolster European markets


European stocks ended higher on Friday, boosted by gains for financials and technology stocks after a strong reading of US September manufacturing data.

"We've had a very good run today, mainly because it's the start of a new quarter and fund managers are putting their money into good, safe stocks such as banks, miners and utilities," Cantor Index's David Buik said.

"However, all eyes are attached to the `real' start of the Q3 earnings season in the US, which starts week after next," he said.

The Dow Jones STOXX 600 Index, which tracks Europe's 600 largest listed companies, was up 1.6 percent at 241.57. The Dow Jones Euro STOXX Index, which tracks companies in countries that joined the common currency, was 2.0 percent higher at 228.80.

A stronger-than-expected US manufacturing report helped boost market sentiment in afternoon trade. The US Institute of Supply Management index fell to 58.5 last month, compared with expectations of a fall to 58.4.

Philip Shaw, economist at Investec, said that the ISM data was particularly reassuring due to its strong employment component.

Financials were back in favor on Friday. In London, hedge fund manager MAN Group gained 3.8 percent to ?12.35, buoyed by news that the company's directors bought shares in the company.

Technology stocks also posted gains, as investors took heart from the stronger-than-expected US manufacturing data. SAP gained 3.8 percent to US$161.18 in Frankfurt.

Dutch pharmaceuticals, coatings and chemical company Akzo Nobel was also a prominent gainer. Shares climbed 2.7 percent to US$36.25 after it announced a US$59.8 million settlement of a US antitrust litigation case on its blockbuster antidepressant drug Remeron.

At the close, London's FTSE-100 Share Index was 1.9 percent higher at 4,659.6, while in Paris the CAC-40 Index was 2.4 percent higher at 3730.16. Frankfurt's Xetra Dax Index was up 2.6 percent at 3,994.96.

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