Closing Market Report
Star-Bulletin news services

Stocks rise slightly
in Europe and Asia

FRANKFURT, Germany » Stock markets were up slightly yesterday across Europe and Asia, with a resurgent dollar propelling exports and automaker issues while rumors of mergers and sales boosted some telecoms and broadcasters.

U.S. markets were closed yesterday because of the Independence Day holiday.

In Frankfurt, the DAX Index rose 6.4 percent, or 0.1 percent, to 4,623.51, while London's FTSE 100 was up 23.30 points to close at 5,184.30 points. Paris' CAC-40 ended the day largely flat at 4,264.40, and the Swedish bourse, OMX, closed up 0.3 percent at 832.34.

Oil companies helped the indexes higher, as Brent futures edged up 40 cents in quiet European trading to $57.94 on London's International Petroleum Exchange.

BP PLC rose 3.8 percent to close at $10.90 in London. French oil company Total SA, which earlier broke through $237.88 per share, ultimately closed up 1.2 percent at $236.93. Shares in Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. gained 2 percent to $67.03 in Amsterdam, while its partner Shell Transport & Trading Co. rose 1.9 percent to $9.96.

Shares of ITV were up 3 percent to $2.27 on reports the broadcaster could be the subject of a takeover bid by U.S. companies. The Mail on Sunday reported that Time Warner Inc. would be joined by investment bank Goldman Sachs and venture capital group Apax Partners in an approach valuing ITV's shares at 165 pence.

ITV and Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the report. Apax Partners declined to confirm or deny involvement. Time Warner could not immediately be reached.

In Frankfurt, Deutsche Telekom AG rose half a percent to close at $18.45 on reports that it was mulling the sale of its U.S. T-Mobile cell phone operations. The Wall Street Journal reported that DT's board was deciding whether it should sell the unit, which could yield some $30 billion. The paper, citing people close to the matter, said the German telecom would make a decision by December. The company had no comment.

Drugmaker Altana AG recovered from a 13 percent plunge Friday after it said Pfizer Inc. would end its joint research efforts for an asthma drug, climbing 1.3 percent to close at $48.08 a share.

In Asia, markets were mostly higher, as optimism about a rising dollar lifted shares in Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Index rose for the fifth straight session, gaining 21.42 points, or 0.18 percent, and closing at 11,651.55 points, it's highest close since April 12, with the auto and technology sectors boosted by the strong dollar.

In Hong Kong, shares were down on losses on index heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC as traders reacted cautiously to last week's hike in U.S. interest rates.

The blue chip Hang Seng Index fell 23.19 points, or 0.16 percent, to 14177.87 after trading between 14122.97 and 14188.47 during the session. Hong Kong typically follows U.S. monetary policy because its currency is pegged to the greenback, and higher rates could raise corporate costs.

The Philippine key stock index fell to a six-month low, plunging 79.58 points, or 4.2 percent, to 1,815.67 after the Supreme Court ruled to halt implementation of a broader value added tax aimed at cutting the nation's fiscal deficit.

Shareholders of British spirits group Allied Domecq PLC voted yesterday to accept a takeover proposal from French rival Pernod Ricard SA, paving the way for one of the world's biggest deals in the drinks sector. The merged company will be the world's second-largest liquor business.

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by Financials.com

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