30 Jul 2008

Lift for European shares

7:34 am on 30 July 2008

European shares ended higher on Tuesday after a three-day losing streak.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.3% higher at 1,162.57 points.

The price of oil has sharply declined to its lowest level since 6 May.

Earlier, a higher-than-expected reading on a consumer sentiment index in the United States helped bring about a turnaround for European shares.

The consumer index came in at 51.9 for July - the first rise since December.

However, banks were down after an unexpected $US5.7 billion writedown by Merrill Lynch late on Monday. Merrill is to unload $US30.6 billion in risky debt and raise $US8.5 billion by selling stock.

In other markets: the DAX index ended at 6,398.8 points, up 47.65 or 0.75%. The CAC-40 index closed at 4,320.49 points, down 3.96 or 0.09%. The Swiss market index closed at 6,993.3 points, up 24.37 or 0.35%.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 index was up 6.6 points, or 0.1%, at 5,319.2. The index is down 17.6% for the year to date.

NZ market down

The NZX 50 index finished on Tuesday down 21 points to 3236 on turnover of $84 million.

ANZ Bank was down 35 cents to $20.15 after cutting its full-year earnings by a quarter on higher costs to cover bad debts.

Telecom was down 2c to $3.59, Contact Energy was up 3c to $8.20 and Fletcher Building was down 24c to $6.25 after building consents fell to their lowest monthly total in seven years.

Auckland International Airport Ltd was up 2c to $1.86.

Methven was unchanged at $1.60, while Postie Plus was down 1c to 39c after shareholders agreed to sell its Arbuckle chain to Kathmandu founder and principal Postie Plus shareholder Jan Cameron for $4 million.

The dollar was buying 74.50 US cents, 77.75 Australian cents, 37.30 pence, 79.99 yen and 0.4730 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was 66.39.

The Australian share market fell 1.5%. The S&P/ASX200 index was down 74.7 points, or 1.52%, to 4847.4 while the All Ordinaries dipped 66.6 points, or 1.33%, to 4923.3.

The September share price index futures contract fell 106 points to 4831 on a volume of 21,433 contracts.