Europe Stocks Rise

The Nikkei falls, while the Hang Seng posted a small gain

European stock markets finished higher Tuesday amid some bargain hunting.

London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was up 16 points, or 0.36%, to 4,428.9 in some short covering and bargain hunting as the U.S. markets opened higher. Supermarket chain Morrison (+1.01%) benefited from positive broker comments ahead of its fiscal year numbers on Thursday.

On the reporting front, Celltech (+5.31%) soared, after saying it is in talks to secure a new collaboration partner for CDP870 during the second quarter. Exploration group Abbot (-2.16%) warned 2004 will be a more challenging year. Computacenter (+0.47%) was supported by forecast-beating fiscal 2003 results. Flooring group Topps Tiles (+5.2%) jumped, on the back of a solid trading statement. VT Group (-2.52%) said results will be at the top end of the current range but the company will make a GBP15m asbestos provision.

Germany's DAX index gained 11.61 points, or 0.3%, to 3,822.37 on bargain hunting, even though the ZEW Center's index of institutional investor and analyst sentiment index plunged to 57.6 in March from 69.9 in February. Also, the BGA exporters' and wholesalers' group lowered its German GDP growth forecast to 1.2% from 1.5%.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index rose 14.2 points, or 0.4%, to 3,588.04. Fortis declined to comment on renewed speculation it is in merger talks with BNP-P. Alstom jumped 5.92% despite denying it is in talks with Siemens about Alstom's gas turbines.

Asian markets finished mixed on Tuesday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index lost 75.61 points, or 0.67%, to 11,242.29. Investors ditched Tokyo Electron and other large-cap tech shares in Japan amid growing concerns about global security. But the decline was limited due to buying in retail and property shares, with more bright signs appearing in consumer spending, a major engine for Japan's economy.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 13.21 points, or 0.1%, to 12,932.62, as the market traded in tight range as investment appetite was suppressed by growing concerns of global terrorist threats.

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