LONDON (CNN) - European bourses ended the session mixed Monday amid concerns a slowing world economy will crimp profits.|
Wall Street's move into the black offered some encouragement to European markets. Investors, initially rattled by grim forecasts from big U.S. corporations Friday, were nervous ahead of the U.S rate decision Tuesday.
London's FTSE 100 index edged up 0.3 percent to 5,357.4 while the blue-chip CAC 40 in Paris also climbed 0.3 percent to 4,791.43. Frankfurt's late trading Xetra Dax was down 0.3 percent at 5,208.22
There were no clear winners and losers on a sector-by-sector basis. Technology, telecom and "old economy" stocks appeared in the plus and minus columns in equal proportions.
In London, Europe's biggest chipmaker, ARM Holdings (ARM), soared 6.2 percent, engineering company GKN (GKN) gained 4.2 percent, and British American Tobacco (BAT) rose 3.7 percent.
Mining company Rio Tinto (RIO) rose 2.3 percent following news that the world's largest diversified miner, BHP Billiton, had made full-year profit of $2.19 billion, before extraordinary items. Shares of BHP were down 0.4 percent in London after they drifted marginally lower in Sydney.
Britain's largest Internet data carrier, Energis (EGS), lost 2.5 percent and Colt Telecom Group (CTM), a provider of telecom services to business customers, fell 5.6 percent as relegation from the benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies loomed large. Companies are relegated on a quarterly basis if they have fallen to below 110th spot on the index.
WPP (WPP), the world's largest advertising company, triggered a bidding battle to control UK media buying group Tempus (TSG), announcing it had launched a £437 million takeover bid.
WPP pitched its offer slightly above an earlier bid from France's Havas Advertising (PHAV). Havas fell 1.5 percent in Paris and Tempus slipped almost 1 percent, while WPP gained 0.6 percent.
Utility stocks headed lower. UK electricity generator International Power (IPR) dropped almost 4 percent and French utility company Vivendi Environnement (PVIE) declined 2.2 percent.
In Paris, France Telecom (PFTE) reversed earlier losses, rising almost 2 percent, but its mobile phone unit Orange couldn't find its way out of the red, sliding 1.6 percent.
Back to the winners, the world's biggest supplier of industrial gasses, Air Liquide (PAI), topped the winners board, climbing almost 3 percent. Bank Societe Generale (PGLE) rose 1.3 percent and Europe's second-largest retailer Carrefour (PCA) rallied 2 percent.
Some automakers still were under the thumb, after Ford (F: Research, Estimates) said Friday it will cut jobs and slash 2001 profit outlook. Volkswagen (FVOW) fell 1.6 percent in Frankfurt and France's Peugeot (PUG) slipped 2.3 percent.
Deutsche Lufthansa (FLHA), Europe's biggest airline, slid 7.3 percent to a two-year low amid concern it may have to lower profit forecasts for the year as the latest passenger traffic numbers showed their lowest increase in any month this year.
Financial services company MLP (FMLP) was among the main decliners in Frankfurt, falling 5.5 percent. Europe's largest software company, SAP (FSAP), was down 3.7 percent.
Germany's beleaguered Bayer (FBAY) rose 3.4 percent to top the Xetra Dax following press reports that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had contacted Bayer's investment banking advisers about an offer for its pharmaceutical unit, which could be worth up to $15 billion. Glaxo rose 1 percent in London.
Bayer published an open letter in German newspapers Monday to argue that its steep share-price decline in the past two weeks was overdone, and that the company's continued existence isn't under threat.
Amsterdam's AEX index was little changed, Milan's MIB30 dipped 0.1 percent, and the SMI in Zurich lost 0.5 percent.
The pan-European FTSE Eurotop 300, a broader index of the region's largest stocks, rose 0.1 percent as the tobacco, beverage and chemicals sectors climbed into positive territory.
Most economists expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut its federal funds rate, its target overnight bank lending rate, by a quarter of a percentage point to 3.50 percent Tuesday.
The Fed has slashed rates from 6.50 percent to 3.75 percent so far in 2001 in an effort to keep money moving through the economy and head off a recession.
In the U.S. at midday Monday, the tech-laden Nasdaq composite index inched up 0.3 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent to 10,289.91.