European Indexes Finish with Gains

A roundup of Wednesday's action in major European bourses

London

The FTSE 100 closed higher as Wall Street was trading in positive territory on the GM deal and as a larger-than-expected drop in durable goods orders for August fuels rate cut hopes. At home, financials led the advance, after NORTHERN ROCK (+13.43%) confirmed it had received a number of bid approaches, without giving any price information. The group cancelled the interim dividend for the time being. INVESCO (+5.07%) jumped after saying it plans to switch its primary listing to the NYSE. HBOS (+5.30%) soared as Goldman Sachs added the stock to its Conviction Buy List. SMITHS GROUP (+2.73%) climbed after posting a 9% increase in fiscal profits. The company announced the appointment of Philip Bowman as new CEO. BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS (-0.14%) eased after a good start. The company reported a 9.3% rise in fiscal pretax profit, but said it saw a tighter UK housing market due to the credit squeeze and the rate hikes. KESA (-5.52%) and DSG INTERNATIONAL (-3.63%) plunged after Credit Suisse lowered target prices on both stocks, saying the end of the extended warranty market would hit profits by 30% and 65%-75%, respectively. DEBENHAMS (-0.56%) retreated on renewed talk that the retailer could breach its banking covenant. JOHNSON MATTHEY (+2.51%) said first half was trading in line with expectations. DAIRY CREST (-4.87%) soured, after warning the that first half Clover recall costs will impact UK spreads performance.

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