5 Nov 2008

European shares end higher

7:51 am on 5 November 2008

European shares closed sharply higher on Tuesday, registering gains for a sixth consecutive day.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 4.3% higher at 974.15 points. However, the index is still down about 35% to date this year.

Commodities shares led the advance, as crude oil prices rose by about 11%. Copper was 6% and aluminium rose by 2.8%.

Banking shares were also higher. The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are expected to cut interest rates sharply this week after the Reserve Bank of Australia did so on Tuesday.

Across Europe: Germany's DAX gained 5% and France's CAC rose 4.6%.

The Swiss market index closed up 2.66%.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 ended 196.22 points higher, 4.4%, at 4,639.50 - its highest closing level in four weeks. Nearly 1.5 billion shares changed hands.

However, the index is still down 28% to date this year.

Other markets

Shares in New York rallied in early trading on Tuesday as voters in the United States went to the polls.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 284.2 points, or 3.1%, at 9,604.0 in mid-morning trading. The Nasdaq composite index rose 47.9 points, or 2.8%, to trade at 1,774.2.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose 6.3% to a two-week high. The index ended up 537.62 points at 9,114.60. Tokyo markets were closed on Monday for a holiday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index closed up 39.97 points at 14,384.34.

Australian shares cut early losses to end down 0.2% after Reserve Bank cut interest rates from 6% to 5.25% in an attempt to boost the economy and avert a recession. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 6.4 points to 4,215.1.

In New Zealand, the NZX50 index fell 12 points, or 0.43%, to close at 2844 on turnover of $79 million.