17 Jul 2009

European stocks hit 1-month closing high

6:16 am on 17 July 2009

European shares hit a one-month closing high on Thursday following a 36% jump in profits at JPMorgan.

The number of workers claiming new jobless benefits in the United States also fell last week.

Economic growth of 7.9% in the second quarter was also reported by China.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares climbed 0.4% to 866.81 points after four consecutive sessions of gains. The index has gained 34% since early March.

HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and Natixis all rose by 0.5% -3.2%.

Drugmakers were in demand: AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk, Roche Holding, Sanofi-Aventis and Shire advanced 0.5% - 1.6%. Novartis AG was up 3.1%.

However, Nokia slumped 15% after the world's top cellphone maker cut its profitability and market share forecasts due to tough competition at the top end of the market.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 4957.19 points, up 28.75 or 0.58%.

In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 3199.68 points, up 28.41 or 0.9%. The Swiss market index closed at 5538.57 points, up 65.24 or 1.19%.

In London, the FTSE 100 closed 15.38 points up, 0.3%, at 4,361.84.

Other markets

In Tokyo, the Nikkei gained 74.91 points, 0.8%, to 9,344.16.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose for a third session, finishing up 0.5%or 103.21 points at 18,361.87.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 71.1 points to 3,995.6, its highest close since 15 June. The All Ordinaries gained 70.3 points, or 1.79%, to 3,987.8 points.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the September share price index contract was 83 points higher at 3,971 on 29,598 contracts.

Total turnover reached 2.21 billion shares worth $A5.31 billion.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 index rose 37.4 points, or 1.35%, to close at 2801 on turnover of $77 million.

The dollar fell to 63.95 US cents after Fitch Ratings cut New Zealand's rating outlook to negative from stable.

It was also trading at 80.02 Australian cents, 38.97 pence, 59.97 yen and 0.45 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 60.21.