Europe and Asia Finish Higher

European markets ended higher on Wednesday on George's W. Bush's probable presidential victory. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 gained 25.30 points, or 0.54%, to close at 4718.50. The pharma and biotech sector was buoyant as drug stocks including AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline moved ahead, 2.39% and 2.50%, respectively, on the prospect of a favorable healthcare policy by Bush. Among companies reporting, Prudential rose 0.91% after chief executive Jonathan Bloomer played down the anger of major shareholders, according to the The Daily Telegraph.

Germany's DAX gained 1.47 points, or 0.04%, to close at 4039.04. Adidas-Salomon fell 2.15% after its results revealed sluggish European growth. BMW's shares lost 2.34%, after results disappointed, with third-quarter profit rising 7.65% to 479 million euro, below analysts' forecasts of 513 million euro. VW fell 3.04% after it agreed to safeguard jobs in response to a 28-month pay freeze among its 103,000 employees. France's CAC-40 gained 4.09 points, or 0.11%, to close at 3769.93, as losses in Sanofi-Aventis pared back earlier blue chip advances. Sanofi wiped almost 11 points off the benchmark after Lehman Brothers downgraded the stock to underweight. headed south by 2.18% after brokers expressed slight disappointment at third-quarter sales figures. Pernod Ricard surprised on the upside, gaining 3.84%, after reporting consensus-beating third-quarter sales and reiterating its outlook.

Asian markets finished higher on Wednesday as news reports showed that market-favorite U.S. President George W. Bush would win re-election. Japanese markets were closed for a national holiday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 88.93 pints, or 0.67%, to close at 13,397.67.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P lost 29.59 points, or 0.33%, to close at 8,841.35.

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