European Stocks End Lower

Geopolitical tensions weighed on investor sentiment. Asian markets ended mixed

European markets ended Friday's session with losses. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index fell 112.10 points, or 2.8%, to 3,829.40 on profit taking and news that North Korea expelled U.N. nuclear inspectors. The market is also worried the U.S. is about to attack Iraq.

In France, the CAC 40 fell 69.45 points, or 2.25%, to 3,011.83 as the French unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9% in November even though the number of people without jobs rose by 17,000. In Germany, the DAX Index declined 142 points, or 4.7%, to 2,858.76 on profit taking.

Asian markets finished mixed. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index gained 13.95 points, or 0.16%, to close at 8,714.05. The market fell in early-morning trading, since November industrial production declined 2.2% month-over-month, weaker than expected. Nevertheless, since major investors both domestic and overseas were absent from the market, selling momentum did not last. Public pensions were said to be bargain hunters. Defensive stocks such as Tokyo Electric Power Co (+2.28%) and Kansai Electric Power (+2.3%) rose. Meanwhile, high-tech shares such as Tokyo Electron (-2.97%) and Advantest (-2.45%) dropped. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 116.37 points, or 1.22%, to close at 8,445.26.

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