Europe Stocks Finish Mixed

A pullback in crude oil from highs above $70 in premarket trading Monday helped stabilize Asian equity markets

European stock markets finished mixed.

London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was up 27.70 points, or 0.53%, to 5,255.80.

Among stocks on the move, Corus and Hilton rose after Morgan Stanley raised its share price targets. Bunzl rose after the company said first-half profit rose 16% after it made acquisitions to expand in markets. Blavod Extreme Spirits rose amid reports the U.S. Navy began selling the spirit at 3 stores at base in Norfolk, Virginia. Calyx Group rose on upbeat outlook.

Germany's DAX index fell 20.52 points, or 0.43%, to 4,791.72.

Infineon rose on reports the company will supply a security chip, a memory-unit product, and a component for cable-free controllers used on the console. Allianz rose after storm modeler Eqecat Inc. lowered its Hurricane Katrina insurance claims estimate to $16 billion from $30 billion. Munich Re rose as reinsurer said Katrina claims won't affect its full-year forecast. DAB Bank rose after WestLB raised its recommendation to outperform from neutral. Fresenius Medical Care rose after shareholders approved a plan to offer a 9.75 euro premium to holders of preferred shares to convert them into ordinary stock. Premiere fell after Deutsche Bank AG rated the shares sell in new coverage on concern the German pay-TV broadcaster faces increasing competition from cable operators.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 4.61 points, or 0.11%, to 4,356.66.

Axa rose as researchers cut their Hurricane Katrina insurance claims estimates. L'Oreal rose after HSBC raised its recommendation on the stock to overweight from neutral. Havas rose on published report that the company may have talks with Aegis Group about combining media-buying operations. SEB higher after Fortis raised its rating on the company to buy from hold.

Asian markets finished higher on Tuesday. Strength in U.S. stocks Monday, as well as a pullback in crude oil from highs above $70 in premarket trading yesterday, helped to stabilize Asian equity markets. Major indices in the region rebounded from steep losses yesterday. Energy companies are now assessing damage to oil rigs and natural gas pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 143.31 points, or 1.16%, to 12,453.14. Contributing to gains, optimism is building that Prime Minister Koizumi will win in the election he called for next month. Major banking issues resumed their recent uptrend after pulling back due to profit taking last week. And dollar strength aided shares of exporters such as Toyota Motor; a weaker yen versus the greenback makes Japanese goods more attractively priced in foreign markets.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 85.25 points, or 0.57%, to 14,922.22.

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