European, Asian Markets Mixed
European stock markets were mixed Thursday. In London, the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 lost 2.40 points, or 0.5%, to close at 4819.60. UK stocks ended virtually unchanged, with the beverage sector providing most of the upside after heavyweight Allied Domecq agreed to a 7.4 billion pound tie-up with Pernod Ricard. The much anticipated takeover saw Pernod offering 6.70 pound per Allied share. Wall Street was trading higher, helped by Motorola, eBay and Nokia. Among broker changes, Shire Pharma was marked lower following a downgrade from ING, while ComputaCenter suffered again on downgrades from Merrill Lynch and ING. Among trading updates, WH Smith reported first-half pretax profits of 61 million pounds, vs. a 72 million pound loss year-on-year and said trading conditions are tough. However, it remains confident in the outcome for the fiscal.
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