23 Jul 2008

European shares lower

7:21 am on 23 July 2008

Weaker oil prices have cushioned a fall in European shares. The price of oil has fallen by about $US5 a barrel.

Weaker oil prices have cushioned a fall in European shares.

European indexes were also hit on Tuesday by weak forecasts from Apple and Texas Instruments.

Shares in Vodafone fell by around 14% after the company lowered its outlook for full-year revenue.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index ended down 0.4% at 1,165.04 points. The index previously gained about 5% in the previous four sessions.

But the fall was cushioned as the oil price fell by about $US5 a barrel as a tropical storm moving over the Gulf of Mexico was expected to miss major oil and gas installations.

US crude fell $US4.90 to $US126.14 a barrel by 1610 GMT.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 6,442.79 points, up 17.95 or 0.28%. In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 4,327.26 points, up 0.12. In Zurich, the Swiss market index closed at 6,922.25 points, up 64.03 or 0.93%.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 ended down 40.2 points, or 0.7% at 5,364.1. The index has fallen nearly 17% this year to date.

Banking shares fell again after US bank Wachovia Corp posted a loss of $US8.86 billion for the second-quarter and slashed its dividend for a second time this year due an increase in reserves for bad loans.

NZ & Australia flat

Trading activity was flat on the New Zealand share market, with the NZX 50 index closing down 4.4 points to 3144 on a turnover of $75 million.

Telecom ended the day down 5c to $3.40. Fletcher Building was unchanged at $6.51. Contact Energy was up 3c to $8.09, and Sky City Entertainment was up 1c to $3.02. Vector was also up 1c to $2.05. New Zealand Oil & Gas was up 2c to $1.56.

In the currency markets: at 6.40am on Wednesday, the New Zealand dollar was trading at US75.9 cents, 78.26 Australian cents, 38.1 pence, 81.39 yen and 0.4809 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 67.44.

The Australian share market was relatively flat. The S&P/ASX200 index fell 6.2 points to 5005.6, while the All Ordinaries added 0.5 points to 5075.9.