Europe, Asia Mixed
European stock markets were mixed on Tuesday. In London, the Financial Times Stock Exchange closed slightly higher gaining 15.70 points, or 0.32%, to close at 4995.50, as attention focused on BP's fourth-quarter results and hotel stocks rose. The oil giant reported a 26% rise in fourth-quarter proforma net profit to $3.646 billion, vs. $2.887 billion, ahead of expectations, and said the result includes net exceptional and non-operating charges of $1.127 billion. BP will continue to buy back shares and raised its fourth-quarter dividend by 26% to $0.085. Hilton was among the top performers after a broker upped its target price. Intercontinental Hotels also gained 2.05%. Marconi said its third-quarter losses narrowed to 21 million pounds, vs. 66 million pounds year-over-year and 29 million pounds quarter-over-quarter and expects further growth in 2005. Dixons dropped 0.76% following BRC data showing a significant weakening of electrical sales in the last three weeks of January. British Airways benefitted 1.66% from a broker raising its target price and news that the Australian regulator approved the continuation of its agreement with Qantas. ITV gained 2.52% on Ofcom's PSB announcement.
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