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Markets & Finance

European Stocks End Lower

European markets ended lower Tuesday, though well off their worst levels of the session. Equities sank in the early going in a carryover of Monday's decline, as weaker than expected reports on household spending in France (Europe's third largest economy) and consumer confidence in the Netherlands further damaged already weakened sentiment. The major bourses managed a partial recovery after a better than expected report on U.S. consumer confidence.

In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index closed off 68.30 points, or 1.83%, to 3,671.10, as Prime Minister Blair pressed the case for attacking Iraq, which helped drive oil prices sharply higher. The biggest contributors to the decline in the FTSE included BP-Amoco, AstraZeneca,and banking concerns Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC Holdings.

In France, the CAC 40 finished down 51.50 points, or 1.84%, to 2,742.81, as French consumer spending fell 0.1% in August, and a published report says French social security deficit will rise in 2003.

And in Germany, the DAX Index was lower by 41.04 points, or 1.41%, to 2,873.21, on Iraq war fears and negative corporate earnings news.

In Asia, the markets finished lower. The Nikkei fell 159.44 points, or 1.68%, to 9,321.64. on growing pessimism over U.S. equities and the country's cooperate earnings. The market players expressed disappointment as the Japan's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP) has decided to wait until the end of October to announce any specific measures to boost the economy and reform financial systems, according to MMS. In Hong Kong, the market lost 117.19 points, or 1.26%, to 9,197.68.

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