Europe and Asia Mixed

London played catch-up with the rest of Europe, while Hong Kong fell, pressured lower by banking shares and property stocks.

European stock markets were mixed on Tuesday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 gained 32.70 points, or 0.68%, to close at 4847.00. UK investors also played catch-up with the rest of Europe, as European bourses gained yesterday when London was closed. Individual performances in the UK were mixed, with retailers in focus as Christmas data were released. Woolworths sunk 5.0% after reporting flat year-over-year sales in the four weeks to Jan. 1. The news also impacted WH Smith, which dropped 1.0%. However, other retailers gained, especially after research body Footfall said the number of shoppers visiting stores in the six days to Dec. 31 was up 7% year-over-year. Next was the pick of the bunch, ahead of trading statement tomorrow. Shire Pharma was the FTSE's best performer following news that it will develop a new treatment for hyperactivity disorder. Media stocks were in play as Lehman Brothers published its sector strategy for 2005. The broker upgraded Reed Elsevier. On the M&A front, attention remained on the London Stock Exchange as CEO Clara Furse was set to meet Deutsche Boerse representatives on Thursday.

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