11 Jul 2009

Europe shares fall for 4th week

6:37 am on 11 July 2009

European shares closed lower on Friday, ending a fourth consecutive week of losses due to worries about corporate earnings and the pace of economic recovery.

Consumer sentiment in the United States soured in early July, slipping to its weakest since March.

A preliminary index of confidence for July by Reuters/University of Michigan, fell to a reading of 64.6 from the final reading for June of 70.8.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares fell 1.1% to 814.29 points - its lowest close since 28 April 28. Over the week, it fell 3.4%.

Drugmakers were among the biggest losers: GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Shire, AstraZeneca, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis fell between 1.1% - 2.4%.

Novartis will be the first major company in the sector's to report second-quarter earnings next week.

The finance sector was also down. UBS fell 2.4%. DnB NOR ASA of Norway fell 3.6% after posting losses and write-downs at its Baltic operations that were higher than expected.

Banco Santander, BNP Paribas, HSBC and UniCredit fell between 1% - 3.7%.

UK insurer Aviva fell again, by 4.9% percent, extending a decline for the week to more than 18%. Allianz fell 1.8%.

Retailing was one of the few sectors to gain: Tesco, Morrison and Marks & Spencer rose between 1.7% - 2.5%.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 4,576.31 points, down 53.76 or 1.16%.

In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 2,983.1 points, down 42.84 or 1.42%. The Swiss market index closed at 5,237.81 points, down 67.58 or 1.27%.

In London, the FTSE 100 closed at 4,127.17 points, down 31.49 or 0.76%.

Other markets

In Tokyo, the Nikkei dipped 3.78 points to 9,287.28 - its lowest closing level since May 22. The index has lost 528.79 points since last Friday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index finished down 82.17 points, 0.5%, at 17,708.42. The index has fallen 2.7% in two weeks of losses.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 30.8 points to 3,794.1 - cutting its losses for the week to 0.9%, or 34.1 points. The All Ordinaries index gained 29.2 points, or 0.78%, to 3,790.6 points.

In New Zealand, the NZX50 index closed down 3 points or 0.1%, at 2738.

The dollar was trading at 62.95 US cents, 80 Australian cents, 38.55 pence, 58.50 yen and 0.4499 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 59.5.