Asia Closes Lower

Asian stock markets closed lower Friday weighed down by weakness on Wall Street

European stock markets were mixed Friday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index lost 6.70 points to 4886.50 in position squaring before weekend. 51 FTSE stocks fell, 45 rose on turnover of 1,653 billion shares. yields on 10-year gilts fell to 4.36% from 4.39% yesterday. sterling off at $1.8506. May Brent crude oil futures were lower. Old Mutual skidded amid reports it might make a bid for Skandia of Sweden. BHP, Rio Tinto, Antofagasta fell as copper prices plunged in Shanghai. Empire Interactive fell as company plunged as full year profits fell. Rolls-Royce Group rose after Merrill Lynch raised its rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral."

In Germany, the Dax index rose 8.65 points to 4275.70 on a late rally. But 15 DAX stocks fell and 14 rose on turnover of 103,405,368 shares. Yields on the 10-year Bunds fell to 3.30% from 3.32% yesterday. The euro was down at at $1.2626. Infineon, Siemens and Suess MicroTec rise in reaction to Dell's strong earnings report. ThyssenKrupp fell after posting lower than expected first quarter earnings. Fuchs Petrolub up after company reported higher first quarter earnings. Hypo Real Estate Group fell after company said its first-quarter interest and commission income missed forecasts. Salzgitter rose after the company reported higher first quarter earnings, forecast higher second quarter results.

France's CAC 40 managed to gain 2.24 points to 4017.89 on late short covering. 25 CAC stocks rose and 15 fell on turnover of 96,101,518,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds fell to 3.35% from 3.36% yesterday. PagesJaunes, Neopost, Societe des Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhone rose after Morgan Stanley Capital International said it would add those companies to its world indices. Cast rose after the company won a contract with a unit of Deutsche Telekom. Eurofins Scientific rose after reporting its first quarter earnings more than quadrupled.

Asian markets closed lower Friday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 28.83 points, or 0.3%, to 11,049.11, tracking Wall Street's downside overnight. Nippon Oil fell 2% on weaker oil prices. Crude oil futures dropped below $50 per barrel on Thursday. Konica Minolta went down 2.4% after it reported a 7.7% fall in its operating profit. Chip equipment maker Tokyo Electron jumped 2.2% after it reported strong annual earnings. KDDI Corp rose 2.25% after index compiler MSCI said the stock will join its Japan index.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng slid 101.47 points, or 0.7%, to close at 13,866.81, weighed down by weakness on Wall Street. Of the 33 HSI bluechips, 20 fell and five gained. Top laggards were Cosco Pacific, CNOOC, and Esprit. Leading gainers were Yue Yuen Industrial, Johnson Electric, and Cathay Pacific. The day's total mainboard turnover shrank to $13.8 billion (hong kong).

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P lost 45.84 points, or 0.49%, to close at 9,285.87.

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