Europe Stocks End with Gains

Hong Kong stocks finish higher; Canada shares rally

European stocks finished higher on Friday. Earlier in the day, the Eurozone manufacturing PMI releases were weaker than expected in the case of Italy and France, but German PMI showed a strong rise, reports MMS.

London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was up 33.30 points, or 0.74%, at 4,510.20. Shares of W.H. Smith dragged lower on news that company was expecting a profit shortfall due to disappointing sales and margin pressures in the U.K. The biggest contributors to the advance in the FTSE included GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC Holdings, Vodafone and AstraZeneca. Bloomberg reports that GlaxoSmithKline said its genital herpes drug, Valtrex, cuts the risk of spreading the virus that infects a quarter of U.S. adults.

In Paris, the CAC 40 finished up 38.9 points, or 1.09%, at 3,596.8. Germany's DAX index has crossed the 4,000 mark, having added 53.34 points, or 1.35%, to 4,018.5. Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bank, SAP and Munich RE elped lead the advance.

In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 225.54 points, or 1.79%, to close at 12,801.48. The index added about 35% in 2003.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index did not trade Friday as markets there observed a national holiday. The index finished 2003 up 24.5%, ending a three-year decline. On Tuesday, the index rose 176.02 points, or 1.68%, to close at 10,676.64 in a half-day session. Japanese markets don't re-open until Monday, Jan. 5, another half-day session.

Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX rose 61.23 points, or 0.74%, to 8,282.12.

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