Europe Closes Higher

European stock markets were higher Thursday on positive earnings reports and lower oil prices

European stock markets were higher Thursday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 17.80 points to 4893.20 help from lower oil prices and earnings reports. 75 FTSE stocks were rose and 23 fell on turnover of 1,508 billion shares. Yields on 10-year gilts fell to 4.39% from 4.42% yesterday. The sterling was off at $1.8652. Lower May Brent crude oil futures helped Imperial Chemical Industries and British Airways to rise. Manchester United rose after U.S. billionaire Malcolm Glazer offered 790 million pounds for the club after boosting his stake to 57%. Royal & Sun Alliance rose after reporting its net incom rose to 122 million pounds from a restated 44 million pounds a year earlier. The 3i Group rose on news company plans special dividend payout.

In Germany, the Dax Index gained 22.89 points to 4267.05 with help from earnings reports and the news oil prices fell below $50. Also, first-quarter German GDP rose 1.0%, the biggest gain in four years after falling 0.1% in the fourth quarter, but is forecast lower rest of the year. 21 Dax stocks rose and 9 fell on turnover of 102,539,285 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds fell to 3.32% from 3.33% yesterday. The euro was off at $1.2713. Beiersdorf jumped after the company said first-quarter net income rose 5.3%. Deutsche Boerse fell amid speculation TCI Fund Management, the exchange's biggest shareholder, was selling its 8% stake. TCI denied it. Draegerwerk rose after the company said first quarter sales rose 9.1%. Funkwerk fell after company said first-quarter profit dropped as sales decreased.

France's CAC 40, breaking a 3-day losing streak, rose 36.12 points to 4015.65 as oil prices fell. 33 CAC stocks rose and 7 fell on turnover of 98,640,107 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds were flat at 3.36%. BNP Paribas surged after company reported its first quarter profit rose 56%. Credit Agricole and Societe Generale also rose. Bac Majestic skidded after company reported its first quarter sales fell 43%. Kindy fell after company said fiscal third-quarter sales fell 5.5%.

Asian markets were mixed Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 42.76 points, or 0.4%, to close at 11,077. Fuji Heavy Industries plunged after the Subaru carmaker posted a 16.5% decline in its operating profit. Suzuki Motor extended losses after it posted smaller-than-expected earnings yesterday. Nippon Yusen went down after the sea freight firm forecasted a drop in its recurring profit for this financial year.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 0.2%, or 28.48 points, to 13,968.28. Of the 33 HSI constituents, 20 gained and six declined. Leading gainers were Lenovo, MTR Corp, and Wheelock. Top laggards were Yue Yuen Industrial, China Merchants, and Denway Motors. PalmSource Inc. has launched Palm Powered Mobile World in China and welcomed China Unicom NewSpace and China Unicom's wholly owned subsidiary, to the program.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P lost 109.16 points, or 1.16%, to close at 9,337.26.

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