Asia Closes Higher

Asian stock markets closed slightly higher Thursday despite losses reported by electronics giant Sony

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.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.