Europe Stocks Drop

Asian equity indices also struggled

European stock markets closed lower on Friday.

London's FTSE 100 index lost 0.8 points, or 0.02%, to 5,314.7, as British June industrial production fell 1.9% from the reading last year, less than expected. Barclays bank was up on an unexpected gain in first-half profit, and EasyJet rose after the company raised its full-year profit forecast.

Germany's DAX index fell 46.88 points, or 0.96%, to 4,827.18, as oil prices rose. Fresenius Medical was lower on profit-taking after a recent surge on strong quarterly profit, and Addidas-Salomon was lower after Morgan Stanley downgraded its rating to equal weight from over weight.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 37.27 points, or 0.84%, to 4,421.70. Tire maker Michelin was up on strong quarterly earnings, while hotel group Accor rose on takeover rumors.

Asian markets declined on Friday.

In Japan, the Nikkei index fell 116.83 points, or 0.98%, to 11,766.48, as some ruling party members said they would vote down Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's bill to privatize Japan Post, the world's largest savings institution.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 60.22 points, or 0.40%, to 15,051.32. Property groups led the decline on the back of concerns of higher interest rates.

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