11 Mar 2009

Europe shares snap losing run

8:04 am on 11 March 2009

European shares closed higher on Tuesday, after a three-day losing run.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares rose 5.1%to close at 690.89 points. However, the index is down 17% to date this year.

A Citigroup memo helped boost sentiment in the banking sector.

According to the memo, chief executive Vikram Pandit said the bank was profitable in January and February and was "confident about our capital strength" after tough internal stress tests.

Citigroup shares, which closed on Monday down 95% on levels a year ago, rose more than 37% on Wall Street.

In Europe: BNP Paribas, Banco Santander, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and UBS rose between 9.9% - 20.7%.

Insurers also gained: Aegon soared 35.2% after falling 60% in a month. Allianz, Aviva, AXA, Legal & General, Prudential, Swiss Re and Zurich Financial rose between 7.9% - 21%.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 3,886.98 points, up 194.95 or 5.28%.

In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 2,663.68 points, up 144.39 or 5.73%. The Swiss market index closed at 4,512.55 points, up 204.88 or 4.76%.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 closed at 3,715.23 points, up 172.83 or 4.88%.

Other markets

In Japan, the Nikkei index shed 31.05 points, 0.4%, in light trade to 7,054.98.

In Hong Kong, shares rose 3.1% as HSBC recovered from its biggest sell-off in at least three decades. The Hang Seng Index ended 349.47 points higher at 11,694.05.

In Australia, shares ended 1% up. The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 30.0 points to end at 3,184.5. The All Ordinaries gained 21.5 points, or 0.69%, to 3,143.2.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 was down 6 points, or 0.26%, to 2462 on turnover of $73 million.

Top stocks were mixed: Telecom lost 2 cents to close at $2.35, Contact Energy fell 5c to $5.60, while Fletcher Building was up 2c to $5.15.