European Stocks Finish Higher

The Hang Seng index surged to a four-and-a-half-year high

European stock markets finished higher on Tuesday.

In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 36.7 points to 5,327.5 with help from some earnings reports and lower September Brent crude oil futures.

Among stocks on the move, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto Group, and Antofagasta were higher after CSFB raised the recommendation on mining stocks to overweight from neutral. Smiths Group rose after saying business in the fiscal second half was in line with forecasts. TDG rose after the company said first-half earnings increased 13%. BOC fell after the company reported fiscal third quarter was lower than forecast. PZ Cussons fell after reporting its full-year profit fell 24% as higher oil prices made it more expensive to make some products.

In Germany, the DAX Index gained 42.02 points to three-year high of 4,932.87 amid reports Eurozone June unemployment was flat at 8.7%, and June PPI rose 0.5%, as expected.

Infineon Technologies rose on a news report saying the semiconductor maker is considering combining its unprofitable memory-chip division with the chip business of another company. Centrotec Sustainable fell after the company cut its 2005 earnings and sales forecasts. Metro rose after reporting earnings rose 5.6%. Continental rose as the company's second-quarter profit almost doubled. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen fell even though the company posted higher fiscal first-quarter earnings. Deutsche Boerse fell after CSFB downgraded stock to neutral from outperform.

In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 46.46 points to 4,503.33 thanks to lower oil prices and some favorable earnings reports.

Carrefour rose amid rumors Wal-Mart might make a takeover bid. Michelin rose after the company reported its second-quarter nearly doubled from year ago levels. Iliad rose after the company said its second-quarter sales rose 49%. Nexity rose after saying first half sales rose 19%. Eurazeo rose to a 28-year high after completing purchase of Financiuere Galaxie.

Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index edged down 6.72 points (0.06%) to 11,940.2. Stocks in Tokyo finished lower as profit taking ensued after the Nikkei 225 reached a 13-month intraday high minutes after the open. The 12,000 mark for the Nikkei 225 appears to be posing psychological resistance.

The broader TOPIX index eased 2.42 points, or 0.2%, to 1209.19.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index surged to a four-and-a-half-year high -- closing up 158.2 points (1.06%) to 15,137.08. The rally was accompanied by a jump in volume and gains were fairly broad-based.

HSBC Holdings led the Hang Seng higher by index points after posting better-than-expected first-half results.

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