Sun, May 07, 2006 - Page 10 News List

France sets pace as European markets soar


European stock markets closed higher on Friday, with the Paris market at its highest level in nearly five years owing to takeover speculation and strong corporate results, dealers said.

British investors shrugged off news of a heavy defeat in local council elections for Prime Minister Tony Blair's governing Labour party and focused on takeover news in the banking sector.

The London FTSE 100 index gained 0.91 percent to end the week at 6,091.70 points, in Paris the CAC 40 index rose 1.01 percent to close at 5,286.40 while in Frankfurt the DAX surged 1.22 percent to 6,113.29.

The CAC 40 climbed to its highest closing level since July 2, 2001.

The DJ Euro STOXX 50 index of leading eurozone shares won 0.81 percent to 3,874.32 points.

Wall Street shares powered to within range of all-time highs on Friday after weak jobs growth last month raised hopes the Federal Reserve could soon call off its campaign of interest rate hikes.

In late morning trade, the Dow Jones share average rocketed 1.02 percent to a six-year high of 11,556.04. The blue-chip index is homing in on its all-time closing high of 11,722.98 reached in January 2000.

In Paris, construction group Vinci gained 2.22 percent to 82.70 euros on a strong first-quarter sales report. Rival Bouygues gained 4.73 percent to 44.72 euros in response.

In Brussels the BEL 20 index gained 0.76 percent to 3,982.17 points, in Madrid the IBEX 35 rose 0.89 percent to 12,034.4 points, in Amsterdam the AEX added 1.10 percent to 471.72 points and in Milan the SP/MIB climbed 0.69 percent to 38,399 points.

The Swiss SMI index showed a gain of 1.16 percent to 8,058.06 points.

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