20 Dec 2008

Europe shares end down

9:00 am on 20 December 2008

European stocks ended lower on Friday in a volatile session, as commodity shares tracked falls in crude and copper prices.

Emergency government funding of up to $US17.4 billion announced for the US auto industry, had little impact on trading.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.45% at 823.37 points. The index is down more than 46% to date this year.

Copper hit a four-year low. Anglo American slumped nearly 9% and Rio Tinto lost 6.5%.

Fiat, Peugeot, Volkswagen and Renault were down 3.7% - 7.8%.

In Paris, the CAC 40 ended 0.26% lower at 3,225.90 points while the Frankfurt Dax plunged 1.26% to close at 4,696.70 points.

In London, the FTSE 100 index was down 1.01% at 4,286.93 points.

Stocks in the United States rose after the announcement of the auto industry bailout.

By late afternoon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 56.63 points, or 0.66%, at 8,661.62.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 9.44 points, or 1.07%, at 894.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 23.58 points, or 1.52 percent, at 1,575.95.

Other markets

Earlier in Japan, the Nikkei index shed 78.71 points to 8,588.52 despite a rate cut by the Bank of Japan.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended 370.30 points lower at 15,127.51.

The Australian share market posted a modest gain on Friday.

The S&P/ASX200 index gained 34.5 points, or 0.96%, at 3615.7, while the All Ordinaries index rose 25.5 points, or 0.72%, to 3547.2.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the March share price index contract was 31 points higher to 3603 on a volume of 3,633 contracts.

After being flat for much of the day, the New Zealand top 50 index closed up 12 points to 2707 on turnover of $63 million.

Telecom closed down 1 cent to $2.34, Contact Energy gained 27c to $7.20, Fletcher Building gained 8c to $6.15 and Hallenstein Glasson, which held its annual meeting on Friday, lost 1c to $2.27.

New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay lost 15c or 20% to 60cc after issuing an earnings downgrade. The Warehouse gained 13c to $3.58.

The dollar was trading at 59.35 US cents, 84.28 Australian cents, 38.19 pence, 51.95 yen and 0.4109 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was 56.62.