Sun, Aug 13, 2006 - Page 10 News List

European markets flat amid inflation fears

JITTERS US retail figures raised the specter of inflation and continued Fed rate hikes, casting a pall over investors' mood

AFP , LONDON

European stock markets were generally stable but on the soft side on Friday after US retail figures raised the potential threat of undaunted inflation.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares slipped by a slight 0.06 percent to 5,820.10 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 index edged 0.05 percent lower to 5,628.37, while in Paris the CAC 40 was up by 0.18 percent at 4,985.52.

The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone shares was virtually flat at 3,675.06 points.

The euro stood at US$1.2752.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had given up 0.46 percent to 11,072.82 as European markets closed, and the NASDAQ Composite of technology shares was off by 0.83 percent at 2,054.56.

The broad Standard and Poor's 500 index showed a loss of 0.56 percent to 1,264.68 points.

In Asia, Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei-225 index fell 0.42 percent to close at 15,565.02 points. Losses were contained by the impressive resilience on Wall Street Thursday following news of a new terror plot.

Hong Kong's key Hang Seng Index climbed 0.16 percent to 17,249.95 points.

European stock markets had taken a tumble on Thursday after British authorities said they foiled a plan to destroy US-bound passenger planes.

In London on Friday, the price of shares in British Airways initially rose after the airline said that the vast majority of its flights were expected to operate during the day.

But BA nonetheless ended up slipping by 0.07 percent to close at ?3.70 amid concern that it would have to invest in costly new security measures.

Other airlines posted mixed but mainly weaker results as well on Friday. Air France-KLM gained 0.52 percent to 19.25 euros in Paris while German carrier Lufthansa gave up 0.21 percent to 14.17 euros in Frankfurt.

Both airlines had closed down by more than three percent on Thursday.

In Madrid, shares in the Spanish carrier Iberia slipped by 0.53 percent to 1.89 euros after shedding 1.55 percent on Thursday, and Alitalia lost 0.29 percent on Friday to 0.86 euros in Milan.

Heavyweight oil stocks were mixed as well.

BP was off by 0.65 percent at 611 pence in London, and Royal Dutch Shell lost 0.47 percent to 1,922 pence.

But Total gained 0.19 percent to 52.70 euros in Paris and Eni was up by 0.54 percent at 24.30 in Milan after initial fears of lower demand for jet fuel subsided.

In Amsterdam, the AEX index edged up by 0.05 percent to 451.76 points, the Swiss SMI gained 0.18 percent to 7,858.57, in Milan the SP/Mib was stable at 36,644, in Madrid the Ibex-35 slipped by 0.28 percent to 11,777.3 and in Brussels the Bel-20 closed 0.46 percent higher at 3,822.12.

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