13 Jan 2009

European shares end lower

7:25 am on 13 January 2009

European shares ended lower for a fourth consecutive session on Monday.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 1.6% lower at 853.22 points after falling 0.5% on Friday. The index fell 45% in 2008.

BP, Royal Dutch Shell, BG Group, Tullow Oil, Norsk Hydro and Total shed were all down as crude prices fell about 7%.

Shares in Daimler AG, Porsche, Volkswagen AG, Renault and Fiat also fell, due to falling demand for cars .

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's leading indicator for the Group of Seven nations fell to 93.3, pointing to "deep slowdowns in the major seven economies and in major non-OECD member economies, particularly China, India and Russia".

In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 1.62% to 3,246.12 points and in Frankfurt the DAX fell 1.34% to 4,719.62 points.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 index fell for the fourth consecutive. The index closed down 22.35 points or 0.5% at 4,426.19, after losing 1.3% on Friday. The index fell more than 31% last year.

Rio Tinto postponed the $US2.15 billion expansion a Brazilian iron ore mine as the global downturn hit steel output, and a newspaper said the group was selling an Australian coal unit. Its shares fell 1.4%.

BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Vedanta Resources, Xstrata and Antofagasta also fell.

But banks rose after an announcement that Britain is to take a 43.4% percent stake in the combined Lloyds TSB-HBOS because shareholders had largely shunned rights issues by both lenders.

Other markets

Markets in Japan were closed for a national holiday on Monday. On Friday the Nikkei index ended down 39.62 points at 8,836.80.

Shares in Hong Kong fell 2.83%. The Hang Seng Index ended down 406.44 points at 13,971.00 after opening 0.5% lower.

Stocks in Australia ended down 1.4%. The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 52.4 points to close at 3,683.3, after edging up 0.6% last week.