European Stocks Edged Higher

Stocks in Japan and Hong Kong rose

European stocks finished slightly higher on Wednesday.

In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 7.4 points to 5,263.6 amid earnings reports, takeover deals and rumors.

Among stocks on the move, O2 Plc fell on a report Goldman Sachs is selling 380 million shares. Prudential, which posted strong second half results, rose after earnings almost doubled at its U.S. businesses. Electric Word rose after the company said its first half loss narrowed. Kelda Group rose after Dresdner raised its rating on company to buy from hold. United Business Media rose after the company said first-half profit jumped to 352.5 million pounds from 48.1 million pounds.

In German, the DAX Index rose 11.86 points to 4,855.35 even though German consumer confidence fell, unemployment stayed close to a record high, and the opposition Christian Democratic Union announced plans to increase the sales tax.

Puma rose on higher second-quarter net and expectation for 2005 net income to increase between 5% and 9%. HVB Group rose as the bank said second-quarter net income rose to 230 million euros. Lanxess AG rose after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage with an overweight recommendation. Fresenius Medical rose apparently in reaction to report a U.S. durable goods orders rose.

In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 12.35 points to 4,433.13 as French business confidence index rose in July.

Publicis rose after reporting higher first half profits. France Telecom rose after agreeing to buy a controlling stake in Spain's Amena. Atos Origin rose after reporting its second-quarter sales rose 3.8%. Avenir Finance rose after reporting its first half sales doubled. Elior rose after reporting its third-quarter sales rose 15%.

Asian stock markets finished higher on Wednesday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 97.12 points (0.83%) to 11,835.08 as a bounce in the U.S. dollar, since falling after China's yuan revaluation last week, boosted exporters and eased concerns that a stronger yen would hurt the economy.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 31.93 points (0.22%) to 14,801.86 as property and telco stocks led the market higher. A 3% rise in Hang Seng heavy-weight CNOOC contributed to gains. Some stock activity was related to the expiration of July Hang Seng futures on Thursday, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

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