Europe Closes Lower, Asia Higher

The Nikkei closed higher with higher earnings guidance from U.S. chipmaker Texas Instruments while the Hang Seng gained on property stocks

European stock markets were lower on Wednesday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index fell 21.50 points to 5003.70 as the CBI services index fell in May for the first time in three months. While the data suggested the UK economy is slowing, reports say the Bank of England is likely to leave rates unchanged at tomorrow's meeting. 10-year gilt yields fell to 4.20% from 4.22% yesterday before meeting. 70 FTSE stocks fell, 26 rose on turnover of 1,465,000,000 shares. Sterling was up at $1.8305. July Brent crude oil futures fell, driving BP and Shell Transport lower. Crown Corp. fell after promising to take steps to improve share price. Fletcher King rose after company said its full year results beat estimates.

In Germany, the DAX Index lost 8.72 points to 4557.29 on profit taking. 15 DAX stocks rose, 15 fell on turnover of 82,870,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds fell to 3.12% from 3.15% yesterday amid worries about economy. The euro was flat at $1.2262. Balda fell after WestLB cut its recommendation for the shares to "outperform" from "buy". HVB Group rose after UniCredito Italiano hired Mediobanc to raise financing for its purchase of HVB. Linde rose after the company said it would report higher earnings. Deutsche Postbank rose after Deutsche Bank raised its recommendation to "buy" from "hold."

France's CAC 40 shed 9.39 points to 4171.35. 20 CAC stocks fell, 18 rose on turnover of 00.126,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds fell to 3.13% from 3.16% yesterday. Carrefour and Casino Guichard-Perrachon fell after Prime Minister de Villepin said his government will take action to lower prices in supermarkets. STMicroelectronics rose after UBS raised its rating on the stock to "buy" from "reduce". Vallourec rose after company said its first half results would be stronger than previously estimated.

Asian markets were higher on Wednesday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 climbed 63.58 points, or 0.57%, to 11281.03, on the back of improved sentiment following higher earnings guidance from U.S. bellwether chipmaker Texas Instruments, and bargain-hunting after recent weakness. Along with the rise in the Nikkei 225, the broader TOPIX index climbed 7.16 points, or 0.6%, to 1148.54. Advancers outpaced decliners on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 968 to 521. Tech names such as Advantest and NEC Electronics rose. Automotive stocks Toyota Motor, Honda Motor and Nissan Motor also closed higher.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 61.26 points, or 0.44%, to 13,898.55. The index was boosted by gains in property stocks after recent losses due to rate concerns. China-related shares were also strong, tailing gains on mainland bourses.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gained 51.72 points, or 0.54%, to close at 9,707.88.

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