31 Jul 2008

European stocks higher

7:50 am on 31 July 2008

European shares ended sharply higher on Wednesday after upbeat results from Siemens and ArcelorMittal.

ArcelorMittal, the world's No. 1 steelmaker, reported record second-quarter results. The DJ Stoxx basic material index rose 4.4%.

Shares in Siemens were up 5.8% after the engineering group posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter results.

Tthe pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended up 1.6% at 1,180.75 points, after rising 0.3% in the previous session.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 closed 101.5 points higher, 1.91%, at 5,420.7.

Markets also drew support from a move by central banks in the United States, Europe and Swiss to extend liquidity offerings to stressed banks and securities firms.

Financial stocks gained with HSBC up 2.7%, Royal Bank of Scotland up 3.9% and BNP Paribas gaining 2.3%.

NZ & Australian markets

The NZX 50 index rose 52 points on Wednesday to close at 3288 on turnover of $84 million.

Telecom was up 7 cents to $3.66, Contact Energy was up 12c to $8.32 and Fletcher Building was up 9c to $6.34.

Auckland International Airport was up 7c to $1.75 after Macquarie Bank disclosed it has taken a 5% stake in the airport.

The dollar was buying 73.83 US cents, 77.70 Australian cents, 37.23 pence, 79.71 yen and 0.4732 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was 66.16.

The Australian share market ended the day on a high note. The S&P/ASX200 index was up 89.2 points, or 1.84%, to 4936.7, while the All Ordinaries climbed 85.4 points, or 1.73%, to 5008.7.

The September share price index futures contract was up 88 points to 4915 on a volume of 17,443 contracts.