18 Jul 2009

Europe stocks close higher

6:16 am on 18 July 2009

European shares closed higher on Friday for the fifth consecutive day. Banks and commodity stocks gained the most.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares closed up 0.4% at 870.56 points in choppy trade.

The index is up around 7% this week and is up about 34% since 9 March.

HSBC, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Banco Santander were up 0.3% -1.6%.

Citigroup has reported a $US4.3 billion second-quarter profit and Bank of America posted a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street forecasts.

However, General Electric Co said profit fell by almost half, as the slump took hold of its heavy industrial units.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 4,978.4 points, up 21.21 or 0.43%.

In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 3,218.46 points, up 18.78 or 0.59%. The Swiss market index closed at 5,594.14 points, up 55.57 or 1%.

In London, the FTSE 100 closed up 26.91 points, or 0.62%, at 4,388.75.

British Airways climbed 3.9%, as the market responded well to plans by the airline to raise around Stg 600 million pounds through a combination of bondholder debt and bank credit.

BA also reported an operating loss of Stg 100 million pounds for the three months ending 30 June.

Other markets

In Tokyo - the Nikkei added 51.16 points, 0.55%, to close 9,395.32, after ending a nine-day slide on Monday. The index has gained 108.04 points this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index closed up 443.79 points, 2.42%, at 18,805.66.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.13% or 5.2 points to 4,000.8. The index gained 206.7 points this week - its biggest weekly rise since late March. The All Ordinaries gained 5.1, or 0.13%, to 3992.9.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 index rose 6.7 points, or 0.24%, to close at 2808 on turnover of $73 million.

At 5.10pm on Friday, the dollar was trading at 64.45 US cents, 80.55 Australian cents, 39.33 pence, 60.35 yen and 0.4565 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 60.61.