22 Jul 2008

European shares up

8:19 am on 22 July 2008

Gains in financial stocks lifted European shares on Monday after Bank of America reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results.

However, Swiss drugmaker Roche fell about 5% after it offered to acquire all outstanding shares in Genentech Inc for $US43.7 billion. Genentech's shares rose 12.4% in the United States.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.5% higher at 1,170.16 points, ending higher for the fourth session in a row. The index gained around 3.2% last week.

The DJStoxx European banks index rose 0.9%. However, HBOS fell 6.2% after only 8.3% of the shares in a £4 billion rights issue, were taken up.

Around Europe, Germany's DAX index added 0.7% and France's CAC 40 rose 0.7%.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 closed 0.5% higher, up 27.9 points at 5,404.3. It rose 0.5% last week. But the index is still down 16% to date this year.

NZ Market also up

The NZX 50 index closed up 27.4 points to 3148 on turnover of $153 million on Monday.

Telecom finished up 2 cents to $3.48, while Fletcher Building was up 19c to $6.65.

Contact Energy was up 18c to $7.80 after the Takeover Panel said it was looking for expressions of interest for independent experts to help determine the price BG Group must offer for Contact if its bid for Contact's majority owner, Origin Energy, is to be successful.

Sky City Entertainment was up 3c to $2.99, while Vector was up 1c to $2.03.

New Zealand Oil & Gas was down 5c to $1.57.

The dollar was trading at 76.19 US cents, 78.78 Australian cents, 38.18 pence, 81.35 yen and 0.48 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was 67.46.

In currency markets, the New Zealand dollar slipped overnight to be trading at US75.99 cents, 78.0 Australian cents, 38.03 pence, 81.13 yen, and 0.4783. The Trade Weighted Index was at 67.29

The Australian 200 Index recorded huge gains of 171-points or 3.5%, to close at 5011.