European stocks end mixed

LONDON - European markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday as investors took a close look at the progress of the current earnings season.

By (AP)

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Published: Wed 9 Aug 2006, 1:40 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 2:09 PM

The U.K. FTSE 100 index slipped 0.2 percent to 5,818, the German DAX Xetra 30 index increased 0.5 percent to 5,651 and the French CAC-40 index gained 0.2 percent to 4,967.

Gains from auto stocks counterbalanced declines in the oil and gas sector, but volumes were on the light side ahead of the US interest-rate decision later in the day.

Oil prices had spiked Monday after BP said it would shut down production at one of its Alaskan oil fields. BP continued to weaken on Tuesday, down 1.4 percent.

Several European insurers came under the spotlight after releasing earnings.

“Generally the second-quarter results from the European companies have been better than expected,” said Peter Kysel, head of European equities at MFC Global Investment Management.

Shares of Germany’s Hannover Re rose 1.1 percent after the company produced a 2 percent rise in second-quarter net profit and said that it’s expecting to produce a very good result in 2006.

“Overall these are solid results in favorable reinsurance conditions,” said analysts at Bear Stearns.

Swiss reinsurance company Converium gained 1.1 percent. It second-quarter net profit rose 33 percent after gross premiums written rose 25.5 percent.

British insurance company Friends Provident lost 3.3 percent after its 9 percent decline in underlying profit before tax came in just shy of expectations. It said its outlook remains one of strong organic growth.

U.K. brewing company Scottish & Newcastle dropped 2.5 percent after analysts focused on lower margins in its U.K. business, even after it said first-half net profit rose 42 percent on 2.5 percent revenue growth. The results were considered broadly in line with expectations.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs noted that the company’s U.K. margin dropped to 8.6 percent from 9.1 percent, after a negative mix during the World Cup outside of pubs. “This may be perceived as a little disappointing,” they said.

German pay-television operator Premiere lost 10.3 percent after it swung to a loss in the second quarter, hurt by a charge for writing off deferred tax assets. A one-time charge for license and production costs from the soccer World Cup also hit results.

Steelmaker Salzgitter gained 4.2 percent in Frankfurt after it said late Monday that it will sell a 17 percent stake in France’s Vallourec, a producer of steel tubes.

Mobile-phone maker Nokia Corp. inched up 0.5 percent after it said that it has agreed to buy digital music distribution company Loudeye Corp. for around US$60 million (Ð51 million). By acquiring Loudeye, Nokia said it will be able to offer customers a “comprehensive mobile music experience,” including the ability to purchase digital music.

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