1 Aug 2008

Europe stocks end flat

6:08 am on 1 August 2008

European shares ended flat on Thursday after a mixed set of economic data from the United States and a flurry of company results.

The US economy accelerated modestly in the second quarter as government stimulus payments helped consumers. But the weekly jobless claims showed a sharp jump.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.06% lower at 1,180.04 points.

In other markets: the DAX index ended at 6479.56 points, up 19.44 or 0.3%. In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 4392.36 points, down 8.19 or 0.19%.

The Swiss market index closed at 7141.21 points, up 32.3 or 0.45%

In Britain, the FTSE 100 ended down 8.8 points, or 0.2%, at 5,411.9, after surging 1.9% on Wednesday.

Data showed British house prices fell at record rates and consumer confidence hit historic lows.

NZX withstands Warehouse fall

A plunge in The Warehouse share price failed to dent the New Zealand sharemarket on Thursday. The NZX 50 index was up 49 points to close at 3336 on turnover of $126 million.

Shares in The Warehouse fell 16% or 60 cents to $3.22 after the Court of Appeal blocked a bid by supermarket giants, Foodstuffs and Woolworths from making takeover offers for New Zealand's biggest retailer.

In Australia, Warehouse Group shares plunged A55c, or 18.27%, to $A2.46. Woolworths added A16c to $A25.20 on the news.

Telecom was up 13c to $3.81, Contact Energy rose 5c to $8.40, but Fletcher Building was down 2c to $6.38.

Auckland Airport rose 10c to $2.04, while Sky Network TV jumped 22c to $4.72.

PGG Wrightson was up 3c to $2.68 after it took a 51% stake in an animal health business in Uruguay - a move that it says will boost profit in its South American operations by 15%.

Australian market rises

In Australia, the sharemarket closed firmly in the black for the second consecutive day.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 40.7 points, or 0.82%, to 4,977.4 while the broader All Ordinaries surged 43.9 points, or 0.88%, to 5,052.6.

At 1620 AEST, the September share price index futures contract was up 76 points to 4,971 on a volume of 22,892 contracts.

At 1627 AEST, the spot price of gold was $US912.55 per fine ounce, down $US4.90 from Wednesday's Sydney close of $US917.45.

National turnover was 1.49 billion shares worth $A6.24 billion.

Topsy-turvy day in Japan

Japanese share prices closed marginally up on Thursday. The Nikkei-225 index gained 9.02 points or 0.07% to close at 13,376.81.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 0.63 points or 0.05% to end at 1,303.62.