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European markets end lower

European markets end lower

European shares lost ground Thursday as gains from German industrial conglomerate Siemens and mobile-phone giant Nokia couldn't offset declines from auto companies and chemical makers.
Germany's DAX Xetra 30 index closed down 0.4 percent at 6,719.58. In France, the CAC-40 index lost 0.5 percent to 5,609.20 and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index shed 0.7 percent to 6,269.30.
U.S. equity markets couldn't provide a lead, getting off to a mixed start and moving weaker as its session progressed.
Nokia shares rose 5 percent after the world's largest maker of mobile phone delivered a forecast-beating 19 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit as it managed to hold the line on margins in its handset business. The company also said that it's planning on buying back up to 4 billion euros of its stock.
Shares of Siemens rose 6 percent after the industrial conglomerate said operating profit rose 51 percent, revenue rose 6 percent and orders rose 4 percent. On those three measures, Siemens topped analyst expectations as analysts had anticipated a decline in orders.
J.P. Morgan upgraded the firm to overweight from neutral, saying that Siemens' decision to launch an initial public offering of its VDO auto-supply business is another positive. Siemens also said late Wednesday that it is buying privately held software producer UGS. UGS is the second largest operator in its market, behind France's Dassault Systemes.
Shares in Dassault Systemes rose 0.9 percent in Paris. The company also signed an extension to its deal with IBM.
Automakers such as DaimlerChrysler and Peugeot slipped more than 2.2 percent.
Italian car maker Fiat said fourth-quarter net income jumped to euro452 million (US$587 million), from euro38 million a year, while revenue rose 5.5 percent. Trading profit improved 50 percent. Fiat shares lost 1.2 percent in Milan, having risen 10 percent since Jan 10.
Shares in Air Liquide closed down 2.6 percent after sales slipped 1 percent in the fourth-quarter. Shares of Imperial Chemical Industries fell 1.2 percent in London.
Pernod Ricard shares hit a new ten-year high after the company said that net sales excluding tax and duty for the six months to Dec. 31 rose 7.3 percent. The gains were largely due to a 12.5 percent organic rise in spirits sales, especially in Asia and the Americas.
French retail group PPR rose 2.2 percent as it reported a 3.2 percent rise in fourth-quarter sales as strong growth at Gucci and other luxury brands was tempered by broadly flat sales at its retail arm.
Shares in Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz rose 6.4 percent after it said fourth-quarter pretax profit rose 27 percent, above analysts expectations.
British Airways lost 2.5 percent after the carrier said cabin crew members of the Transport & General Workers' Union will stop work for 48 hours starting Jan. 30.
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Sarah Turner is a correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires.


Updated : 2021-03-01 09:59 GMT+08:00