Sun, Feb 19, 2006 - Page 10 News List

European markets gain as carmakers, miners close firmer


European stocks ended higher on Friday on gains for miners and automakers, while the UK's Daily Mail & General Trust tumbled after backtracking on selloff plans.

The German DAX Xetra 30 index rose 0.11 percent at 5,795, the French CAC 40 index climbed 0.54 percent at 5,000 and the UK's FTSE 100 index edged 0.30 percent higher at 5,846.

European markets pulled back slightly from the day's highs after US shares opened lower on weak consumer-sentiment data and a producer-price report that sparked inflation worries, with higher oil prices and a disappointing outlook from Dell Inc also acting as a drag.

Mining stocks in Europe gained, however, after platinum miner Lonmin said it has had preliminary talks to be bought by an undisclosed company.

Lonmin shares ended up nearly 25 percent, while Anglo American surged 6.1 percent. BHP Billiton added 2.3 percent.

Auto stocks were also strong in the key French and German markets. Volkswagen led the sector in Germany, adding 2.6 percent, while in Paris, Renault advanced 0.9 percent and Peugeot pushed 0.4 percent higher.

Frederic Boissel, a trader with Global Equities in Paris, said almost all the car makers have promised restructuring plans in the last several days, which may have boosted confidence.

Daily Mail & General Trust slumped more around 12 percent after the company backtracked on plans to sell its Northcliffe Newspapers division. The British media group said it received three offers for Northcliffe, as well as offers to buy part of the business, but the bids reflected the recent downturn in trading in the regional newspaper sector.

Shares in Swedish telecoms operator Tele2 ended up 0.6 percent having climbed as much as 4 percent after the company said net income had dropped 79 percent as higher marketing costs and a writedown of Alpha Telecom assets weighed on the bottom line.

The London Stock Exchange added 8.2 percent after announcing plans to double its cash return program, including a new buyback scheme and a 71 percent dividend increase.

Deutsche Boerse, a one-time LSE bidder, climbed 2.1 percent after CEO Reto Francioni reignited merger speculation by urging European exchanges to consolidate before US exchanges moved in.

In Frankfurt, Adidas-Salomon dipped 1.6 percent after Nike Inc filed a patent-infringement suit against the German sportswear maker over Nike's patented Shox shoe-cushioning technology.

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