Europe Loses, Asia Gains

European markets closed lower on disappointing drug data while Asian markets were boosted by the steady U.S. dollar

European stock markets closed lower on Friday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 lost 38.40 points, or 0.81%, to close at 4696.80, hurt by a disappointing update by FTSE 100 oil field explorer Cairn Energy and poor drug data from AstraZeneca. Major U.S. indices traded lower as pharmaceuticals were the focus. Pfizer said one trial testing Celebrex for cancer prevention showed increased cardiovascular risk, while bad news also was also reported by AstraZeneca and Lilly. At home, Cairn said no new oil discoveries had been made at its Rajasthan field and was also told by the Indian government that it is liable for CESS, a tax on the production of crude oil. AstraZeneca was the second worst performer on the FTSE, plummeting after saying its lung cancer drug, Iressa, failed to prolong survival. Hotels giant Intercontinental agreed to sell 13 hotels in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada to Hospitality Properties Trust for $450 million.

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