Europe and Asia Lower

European and Asian stock markets were lower on lower Wall Street trading and weak numbers from

European stock markets were lower on Thursday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 lost 7.90 points, or 0.16%, to close at 4908.30, as Wall Street traded lower amid poor productivity data and disappointing figures from At home, the oil and gas sector continued to weigh. Shell dropped 1.9% after saying its 2003 proven reserves have been restated by 1.4 billion barrels, more than analysts forecast, and said its proved reserves replacement ratio for 2004 was expected to be in the range of 45% to 55%. Its fourth-quarter CCS earnings jumped to $5.127 billion, vs. a consensus of $4.825 billion, and Shell also announced a $3 billion to $5 billion buy-back programme. Vodafone also rose 1.66% after a broker note advised investors to switch to Vodafone from BT.

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