Sun, Jan 28, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Profit-taking, weak earnings drag down markets in Europe

AFP , LONDON

European stock exchanges wilted on Friday, dragged down by profit-taking and in line with a sluggish start to the day on Wall Street.

The London FTSE 100 index shed 0.66 percent to end the week at 6,228 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.48 percent to close at 5,582.30. In Frankfurt the DAX lost 0.44 percent to reach 6,690.34.

The Euro STOXX 50 index of leading eurozone shares fell 0.64 percent to close at 4,149.01.

On the currency market the US dollar firmed against the euro on news that sales of new homes in the US rose strongly last month, when durable goods orders were also robust.

The euro was at US$1.2909 in late-day trade after US$1.2935 late on Thursday in New York.

US stocks were mixed in late morning trading as investors fretted over lackluster fourth-quarter corporate earnings and the outlook for interest rates.

"There are two main concerns this morning. The first concern is the earnings, which have not been as successful as we had been used to," said Hugh Johnson, an analyst with Johnson Illington Advisors.

"The second is about durable goods orders because these numbers came out really strong, it brings worries that the Fed could raise its interest rates," he said.

In London mining issues were hurt by falling copper, gold and silver prices. Anglo American fell 2.31 percent, while Rio Tinto lost 2.12 percent. In the banking sector, Barclay's gave up 1.39 percent and Royal Bank of Scotland was down 0.91 percent.

Among the day's few gainers was Cadbury Schweppes, which added 0.71 percent on rumors of a possible takeover bid by an investment fund.

Elsewhere there were declines of 0.64 percent to 499.80 on the AEX in Amsterdam, 0.87 percent to 4,399.87 on the BEL 20 in Brussels, 0.64 percent to 42,184 on the SP/MIB in Milan, 1.02 percent to 9,041 on the Swiss Market Index and 0.84 percent to 14,415.4 on the IBEX-35 in Madrid.

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