Europe Stocks Finish Mixed

In Japan, the Nikkei climbed to a fresh 15-month high

European stock markets were mixed on Wednesday.

In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 4.8 points to 5,332.3 as some traders took profits. The July CIPS services PMI rose unexpectedly to 56.3 from June's 55.8.

Among stocks on the move, BPB fell after the company rejected Cie. de Saint-Gobain takeover bid. HSBC and Barclay's Bank fell as Credit Suisse reported lower first-quarter revenue. Rio Tinto rose on a report of higher first half profits. British Sky Broadcasting fell even though the company failed to add as many users as expected last quarter.

In Germany, the DAX Index fell 9.75 points to 4,923.12 as German July car registrations rose 2% year-on-year, down from a 8% year-on-year in June and car production rose 6% year-on-year, unchanged from June. Also, Eurozone June retail sales rose more than expected 0.4% and eurozone July composite business climate reading rose to 53.2 from 52.3 in June.

Henkel rose as the company's second-quarter net topped estimates. Adidas-Salomon rose after the company agreed to buy Reebok for $4 billion. Continental fell after Deutsche Bank lowered its rating on the stock to hold from buy. Commerzbank, which reported lower second-quarter earnings, rose as results beat estimates.

In Paris, the CAC 40 lost 7.85 points to 4,495.48 on profit taking from the recent rally.

Transgene fell after the company reported its first half net fell 12% from year ago. Linedata rose after signing 4 new contracts. Peugeot fell on earnings worries. France Telecom fell on profit taking from 7 straight up days. Alti rose after the company reported a 58% jump in sales.

Asian markets closed in mixed mode.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 41.6 points (0.35%) to 11,981.8 -- a 15-month high -- on the back of positive sentiment toward corporate earnings. The broader TOPIX index rose 2.83 points, or 0.23%, to 1212.02.

Astella Pharmaceutical led the index higher after posting a higher quarterly profit. Political tensions are influencing market sentiment as the Diet debates privatizing Japan Post. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has warned he may dissolve the House of Representatives for the general election if the bill is not passed.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 18.58 points (0.12%) to 15,118.5 on profit taking after big gains yesterday.

HSBC Holdings, China Mobile, and China Unicom led the index lower. CNOOC rose 0.9% after announcing it would drop its bid for Unocal.

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