Europe Stocks End Higher
European stocks finished higher on Friday. The Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index in London was up 7 points, or 0.15%, to 4,545, on short covering before the weekend. Sainsbury was higher even though some analysts scotched speculation Target might make a takeover bid. Abbey National was higher as Santander Central Hispano reiterated it expects to complete its 8.7 billion-pound purchase of Abbey in November. AstraZeneca was lower as the U.S. FDA said the company might need to provide more data to prove its experimental blood thinner Exanta is safe and effective.
Germany's DAX index added 34.81 points, or 0.90%, to 3,886.03. Infineon Technologies and Siemens were higher after Texas Instruments CEO said he's optimistic about demand for his company's semiconductors. SAP was up in sympathy with news Oracle won court permission to proceed with hostile bid for PeopleSoft.
In Paris, the CAC 40 index advanced 25.59 points, or 0.70%, to 3,677.61, as the French trade deficit narrowed last month. STMicroelectronics was higher in reaction to Texas Instruments' bullish semiconductor demand outlook. Alcatel was higher after it got orders to supply mobile phone network in Libya and a satellite based broad band network in Tunisia.
Asian markets finished mixed on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 87.73 points, or 0.79%, to close at 11,083.23 after the country's April-June gross domestic product was revised down, surprising the market. April-June GDP grew an annualized 1.3%, compared with its preliminary estimate of 1.7%. Large caps slid following the announcement, with NTT sinking 2.32% while Nippon Steel edged down 1.92%. UFJ Holdings plummeted almost 4% after reports said a planned merger with Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group may face more hurdles than expected.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 61.79 points, or 0.48%, to close at 13,003.99 on weakened sentiment in the wake of rising oil prices and Thursday's bomb attack in Jakarta on the Australian embassy.