Alexa

European markets end lower

European markets end lower

European markets finished lower Friday, with mining firms such as Xstrata and Antofagasta leading decliners amid weaker metals prices and offsetting gains from cosmetics giant L'Oreal.
The German DAX Xetra 30 index closed down 0.4 percent at 6,690.34, the French CAC-40 index slipped 0.5 percent to 5,582.30 and the U.K. FTSE 100 index lost 0.7 percent to 6,228.00.
U.S. shares were lower.
Industrials, including defense company EADS, also lost ground. EADS shares dipped 1.6 percent amid reports that the U.K. government could review contracts if the company doesn't go ahead with a planned 100 million pound (US$196 million; euro151 million) investment.
Chemical maker Linde lost 0.7 percent and Imperial Chemical Industries declined 1.3 percent.
"After a period of strength in the sector, it's turned a bit weaker in the last few days and that might have to do with the oil price," said Andreas Heine, a chemicals analyst at HVB Corporates & Markets.
Shares in L'Oreal rose 3.7 percent in Paris after the cosmetics giant reported late Thursday a 6.5 percent fourth-quarter comparable sales growth and forecast 2007 comparable sales to rise between 6 percent and 8 percent. It also reiterated 2006 profit guidance.
Credit Suisse upped L'Oreal to outperform after the figures, noting that the last time it traded at a discount to both Reckitt Benckiser and Danone its stock rose 30 percent in eight months.
On Friday, Reckitt Benckiser shares slipped 0.7 percent and Danone edged up 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, Carrefour shares rose 2.5 percent after Citigroup upgraded the French supermarket chain to hold from sell, citing valuation.
Nokia shares benefited from an upgrade to buy at Deutsche Bank, rising 2.4 percent.
And shares in construction firm Saint Gobain rose 4.9 percent after it said its 2006 sales rose 19 percent, net income increased 33 percent and it's expecting double-digit growth in adjusted net income for 2007.
Germany's Porsche said first-half profit soared to euro1.05 billion (US$1.36 billion), thanks to substantial gains from its stake in Volkswagen, though sales have fallen as the sports car maker prepares to introduce the latest version of its Cayenne sports utility vehicle. Shares slipped 1.8 percent after recent strong gains.
BMW said revenue in 2006 hit a record high of euro49 billion (US$63.7 billion) amid stronger sales of its core BMW brand and its luxury Rolls-Royce cars. Shares rose 1.2 percent.
Airlines were higher, with Alitalia shares up 1 percent after a report that at least three groups are likely to show an interest in buying the Italian airline by the Monday deadline.
British Airways rose 0.9 percent even as strikes continued to loom large next week.
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Sarah Turner is a correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires.