Sun, Jan 16, 2005 - Page 10 News List

European markets shrug off surprises to end week higher

AP , LONDON

European stocks ended higher on Friday as markets held on to opening gains with broker comments helping mining stocks.

Geoff Langhan, head of trading at CMC, said that despite "a turbulent few days for currencies and equities alike," indexes were finishing at more or less the same levels as the beginning of the week.

The Dow Jones STOXX 600 Index, which tracks Europe's 600 largest listed companies, was up 0.5 percent at 253.00. The Dow Jones Euro STOXX Index, which tracks companies in countries that joined the common currency, was 0.4 percent higher at 268.69.

The Dow Jones Euro STOXX 50 Index was up 0.4 percent at 2,949.1, while the Dow Jones STOXX 50 Index was up 0.4 percent at 2,782.1.

London's FTSE-100 Share Index closed up 0.4 percent at 4,820.8, while in Paris the CAC-40 Index was 0.5 percent higher at 3,854.6. Frankfurt's Xetra Dax Index was up 0.5 percent at 4,232.36.

European stocks shrugged off more than one surprise piece of economic news -- the US Producer Price Index (PPI) fell 0.7 percent in December, a larger drop than expected, and US industrial output came in higher than expected, with a rise of 0.4 percent.

Commenting on the PPI data, economist Simon Rubinsohn at Gerrards said the figures cast doubt over the rising inflation story. He noted, however, that the core inflation figure was still at its highest level since 1999, when stripped of its oil component.

The better-than-expected industrial production data reaffirmed ING's view that the US Federal Reserve would continue to increase rates.

On the corporate side, Deut-sche Bank was the object of furious trading activity as news of Caixa's sale of a 4.5 percent stake drove the stock up at the open, only for it to dip sharply when results came out in the afternoon.

Electronics components maker Epcos tumbled 6.3 percent when it warned that its profits would likely miss first-quarter expectations. The company blamed slow inventory adjustments and a disappointing Christmas sales period in its second profit warning of recent months. Broker downgrades and estimate cuts were quick to follow. Epcos closed at 10.20 euros.

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