Asia Closes Higher
European stock markets were mixed Thursday. In London, the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 gained 0.80 points, 0.2%. to close at 4790.20, but breadth was negative flat after first-quarter U.S. GDP data showed the slowest rate of growth in two years, sending Wall Street into the red. Mining stocks dragged averages lower after copper prices fell yesterday: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and XStrata fell 3.41%, 2.57%, and 2.52%, respectively. Pharma companies remained among the top gainers after GlaxoSmithKline reported a 17% rise in first-quarter earnings per share, ahead of forecasts. The group also said it expects to begin re-supplying the U.S. with two key drugs, Paxil CR and Avandamet, mid-year after reaching agreement with the FDA over its Cidra manufacturing site. Peer AstraZeneca also topped expectations with a 34% rise in first-quarter earnings per share and said it is on track to deliver fiscal year targets. Shell announced first-quarter earnings up 28% to $5.548 billion, vs ING's forecast of $5.049 billion. On the M&A front, drinks firm Allied Domecq has been approached by a consortium led by the U.S.'s Constellation Brands to discuss a potential counter-offer.
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