Europe Stocks End Lower

The Nikkei and Hang Sang were mostly flat

European stock markets finished lower on Friday as oil prices rose above $66.

London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was down 12.8 points, or 0.24%, to 5,345.8.

Among stocks on the move, Collins Stewart Tullett rose on takeover speculation. Reckitt Benckiser rose as Deutsche Bank raised its share price forecast for the stock. Huntsworth rose after the company bought pharmaceutical market-research companies Context Research International and Brand Health Internationalto develop its health-care division. Schroders rose after Deutsche Bank raised its share price forecast. Spirent rose after UBS raised its recommendation on the stock to buy from neutral. O2 higher rose after Bear Stearns upgraded the stock.

Germany's DAX index fell 16.6 points, or 0.34%, to 4,937.33.

MAN fell after Citigroup cut its recommendation stock to hold from buy, and West LB AG cut the company's shares to outperform from buy. Infineon fell as spot prices memory chips declined for the fifth straight day. ThyssenKrupp rose on company's expectation of higher fiscal 2005 earnings. GfK fell after the company said it may miss an annual profit target.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 32.62 points, or 0.72%, to 4,476.48 as French second-quarter GDP rose 0.1%, less than the 0.3% anticipated. Also, nonfarm payrolls were unchanged on the quarter.

Cerep fell after the company posted a second-quarter loss as sales fell 3.2%. Societe Generale fell after the company said it would buy Russian mortgage lender DeltaCredit. General de Sante rose on a report second-quarter sales rose 11%. Vallourec fell after SG Securities cut its rating on the stock to hold from buy.

Asian markets barely budged on Friday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed flat at 12,261.68. The Tokyo stock market took a breather after a steep rise this week. The government said second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.3% in real terms, shy of the 0.5% consensus estimate. Gains in large-cap banking issues bolstered the broader Topix index, led by Sumitomo Mitsui, Mitsubishi Tokyo, and Mizuho Financial.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index closed up marginally at 15,450.95. Gains in CNOOC, Esprit Holdings, and BOC Hong Kong aided the Hang Seng, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

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