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Sun, Oct 08, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Europe ends week mixed as traders mull UK takeovers


Equity markets in Europe closed mixed on Friday as traders absorbed takeover news in the British utilities sector and a key US employment survey.

The London FTSE 100 index shed 0.05 percent to end the week above 6,001.20 points, in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.12 percent to close at 5,282.06 while in Frankfurt the DAX gained 0.17 percent to finish at 6,085.82.

The Spanish and Swiss stock markets both hit record levels.

The DJ Euro STOXX 50 index of leading eurozone shares rose 0.01 percent to 3,940.31 points.

The euro stood at US$1.2604.

US stocks were lower on Friday after the government said last month's job growth was much weaker than anticipated by Wall Street analysts, with just 51,000 new positions created.

Stocks weakened after the Labor Department said US employers added 51,000 jobs last month, the weakest payroll growth in almost a year, in a further sign of cooling economic growth.

The unemployment rate, meanwhile, based on a separate survey, fell to 4.6 percent last month from 4.7 percent in August.

Japanese share prices closed little changed on Friday, holding near five-month highs as investors turned cautious ahead of US jobs data and a feared nuclear test by North Korea, dealers said.

The London market closed above 6,000 points for the first time since May helped by takeover deals in the utilities sector.

Viridian Group, Northern Ireland's main supplier of electricity, said on Friday it had accepted a ?1.62 billion (US$3.03 billion) takeover bid by Bahrain-based investment fund ElectricInvest.

Investment fund Osprey has recently taken over AWG water group for ?2.2 billion, while Australian fund Hastings has acquired South East Water for ?665.4 million.

In Paris, shares in the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company plunged 2.95 percent owing to fresh delays to the Airbus A380 superjumbo. EADS owns 80 percent of Airbus.

Added to the picture, a report said on Friday that deliveries of Airbus's new military transport plane, the A400M, could be up to two years late.

The German military had been expected to take delivery of its first A400Ms in 2010, but they will not be ready until 2012 because of technical problems, Die Welt newspaper said quoting sources from the defense ministry.

In Frankfurt however, auto giant DaimlerChrysler -- which owns 22.5 percent of EADS -- saw its shares gain 0.15 percent to 39.82 euros.

Elsewhere in Europe, in Madrid the IBEX-35 reached a new record of 13,152.1 points, in Amsterdam the AEX closed up 0.01 percent at 486.21 points, in Milan the SP/MIB fell 0.01 percent to 38,955 points.

The Swiss SMI index hit a record high of 0.12 at 8,521.24 points.

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