3 Jul 2009

European shares lower on rise in US jobless

6:15 am on 3 July 2009

European shares closed lower on Thursday after 467,000 jobs were cut in the United States - much more than expected.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 2.6 percent to close at 843.0 points.

The US unemployment rate rose to 9.5%, though initial claims fell by 16,000 last week.

The Euro zone jobless rate, also 9.5%, was at a 10-year high in May.

The European Central Bank kept euro zone interest rates at 1% and said it would start buying bonds next week.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said the rates remained "appropriate". He left the door open for further cuts if needed. The rate decision had been predicted.

Earlier Sweden's central bank cut its interest rates by a further 25 basis points to 0.25%.

In Frankfurt - the DAX index ended at 4718.49 points, down 186.95 or 3.81%.

In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 3116.41 points, down 100.59 or 3.13%. The Swiss market index closed at 5355.23 points, down 117.71 or 2.15%.

In London, the FTSE 100 index ended down 106.44 points, 2.45%, at 4,234.27.

Other markets

In Japan, the Nikkei closed down 63.78 points, 0.6%, at 9,876.15.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index finished down 200.68 points at 18,178.05 after starting the day at 18,780.96.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 3.3 points, 0.1%, to 3,877.3. The All Ordinaries index advanced 2.9 points, or 0.07%, to 3875.2 points.

In New Zealand, the NZX50 index was down 12 points, or 0.4%, to 2768 on turnover of $100 million.