Europe mixed, Dax holds up
Beverage, oil companies drag bourses, but techs continue to shine
LONDON (CNNfn) - Weakness among oil and beverage companies dragged down Europe's top markets Wednesday, but technology and telecommunications shares continued to rise a day after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan hinted lower interest rates might be on the horizon.|
In Paris, the blue chip CAC 40 index closed down 9.65 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,985.24, with drug maker Sanofi-Synthelab (PSAN) dropping 7.2 percent.
London's FTSE 100 index fell 25.7 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 6,273.3, after rising as much as 1.1 percent in morning trading.
click here for the biggest movers on the techMARK 100 in London
click here for the biggest movers on the Neuer Market in Frankfurt
click here for the biggest movers on the Nouveau Marché in Paris
As other leading bourses closed, Frankfurt's electronically traded Xetra Dax fell 14.84 points, or 0.22 percent to 6,622.25. Electronics component maker Epcos (FEPC) jumped 8.9 percent.
"There is a bit of churning going on," an equity salesman told Reuters. "People are getting back into some of the TMT (technology, media and telecom) areas and out of some of the old economy stocks, but I don't seen much new money being committed."
In Amsterdam, the AEX index fell 0.4 percent, Milan's MIB30 shed 0.9 percent, and the SMI in Zurich fell 0.8 percent. Madrid's IBEX jumped 4.3 percent behind a 7.1-percent rise for Telefónica, whose cell-phone division won a next-generation mobile phone license in Switzerland at a cut rate.
The pan-European FTSE Eurotop 300, a broader index of the region's largest stocks, fell 0.6 percent, with the computer services and software sub-index rising 4.5 percent while the oil and gas segment fell 5.3 percent and the beverage component down 6.1 percent.
click here for the biggest movers on the ftse 100 in London
click here for the biggest movers on the dax 30 in Frankfurt
click here for the biggest movers on the cac 40 in Paris
As Europe's markets closed, the Nasdaq composite index was little changed, a day after posted its biggest-ever one-day gain – a rise of 10.5 percent. That came after Fed Chairman Greenspan said he saw signs of slowdown in the U.S. economy, which suggested interest rates could soon fall there. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1 percent.
In the currency market, the euro moved higher at 88.76 U.S. cents. In late trading in New York Tuesday, it stood at 87.96 cents.
Dixons drags on FTSE
Consumer electronics retailer Dixons Group (DXNS) tumbled 7.7 percent in London, reversing an earlier 7.6 percent gain, after agreeing to a buyout for its 79 percent owned Internet unit Freeserve (FRE). The buyer was French ISP Wanadoo (PDOO), which agreed to pay $2.4 billion, which saw its shares slip 5.8 percent. Wanadoo fell 2.6 percent.
Bookham Technology (BHM), a provider of fiber-optic telecom equipment, blasted up 21.5 percent even as it became clear the stock will be ousted from the blue-chip FTSE 100 index.
Extending the previous day's sharp gains, British broadcasting group Carlton Communications (CCM) rose 6.8 percent, chip designer ARM Holdings (ARM) rose 7 percent and business telecom operator COLT Telecom Group (CLT) rose 7.1 percent.
British financial news and data provider Reuters Group (RTR) rose 6.8 percent after naming information division chief Tom Glocer as its next chief executive, the first American to serve as the company's CEO, ending a 14-month search for a successor for retiring CEO Peter Job. Glocer takes over next summer.
In French media circles, Europe's biggest pay-TV company Canal Plus (PAN) rose 2.5 percent while its parent Vivendi (PEX) added 3.3 percent.
British accounting software provider Sage (SGE) fell 0.6 percent, reversing an earlier 15 percent gain after expressing confidence about its prospects for this year. That came as the company reported pretax profit for the latest year of £108.7 million ($156 million), above analysts' expectations.
Battered rival Sema (SEM) remained in a downdraft, falling 1.7 percent. Among other British information technology companies, Misys (MSY) added 9.2 percent and Logica (LOG) climbed 9 percent.
Computer services firm Cap Gemini (PCAP) jumped 9.2 percent in Paris, the leading gainer on the CAC 40, followed by a 7.2 percent advance for telecom and construction company Bouygues (PEN). Telecom equipment maker Alcatel (PCGE) rose 6.3 percent.
In Frankfurt, software developer SAP (FSAP) climbed 4 percent and chipmaker Infineon Technologies (FIFX) added 3.2 percent.
The world's largest spirits company Diageo (DGE) fell 7.4 percent in London. Diageo and French rival Pernod-Ricard (PRI) announced a pact to jointly bid for the spirits and wine business of Canada's Seagram (VO: Research, Estimates), which could fetch about $7 billion.
Oil and drug stocks were lower across Europe.
TotalFina Elf (PFP) one of France's most valuable companies, dropped 6 percent, the biggest percentage decline among CAC stocks. The U.K.'s Shell Transport and Trading (SHEL) dipped 5.4 percent. Crude prices briefly plummeted below $27 for the first time since July.
In the drug sector, Franco-German Aventis (PAVE) fell 5.2 percent, Britain's Glaxo Wellcome (GLXO) shed 4.7 percent and Germany's Schering (FSCH) dropped 3.3 percent. However, chemicals and drug company Bayer (FBAY) rose 3.4 percent.
-- from staff and wire reports