23 May 2009

Europe shares dip

7:16 am on 23 May 2009

European shares ended lower for the second day on Friday.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended down 0.18% at 856 points.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index is up 2.9% this year due to a strong rally over in the past 10 weeks. It lost 45% last year due to a credit crisis that drove banks to the wall and tipped economies into recession.

The index is up 3.3% in May.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's warned on Thursday that it might downgrade Britain's debt ratings to "negative" from "stable" because of the country's worsening public finances.

The British economy is contracting at its sharpest pace in almost three decades.

According to official statistics on Friday, gross domestic product shrank 1.9% during the first quarter of 2009 compared with the final three months of last year.

In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.46% to close at 4,365.29.

In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 0.33% to finish at 3,227.97 points while in Frankfurt, the Dax added 0.37% to end the day at 4,918.75.

However, Swiss stocks lost 1.8%, after a market holiday on Thursday.

Other markets

In Japan, the Nikkei ended down 38.34 points, 0.41%, at 9,225.81.

In Hong Kong, shares dropped for a third consecutive day. The Hang Seng Index was down 136.97 points, 0.8%, at 17,062.52.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 52.3 points, 1.37%, to 3,761.6. The All Ordinaries index fell 49.3 points, or 1.3%, to 3,755.4.

In New Zealand, the NZX50 fell 16 points, or 0.6%, on Friday to close at 2761 on turnover of $58 million.

Telecom was up 2 cents at $2.60, Fletcher Building fell 12c to $6.43 and Contact Energy was unchanged at $5.85.

Briscoe Group rose 2c at $1.02 after saying it is looking for acquisitions.

TrustPower was down 15c to $7.65 after announcing chief executive Keith Tempest will step down later this year after eight years at the helm.

At 5.15pm on Friday, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 61.40 US cents, 78.88 Australian cents, 38.68 pence, 57.77 yen and 0.4410 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 58.45.