Monday, January 23, 2006

Global Economic Collapse Update

PARIS, France (Reuters) -- European shares slid to their lowest level since the start of 2006 on Monday, weighed by oil prices flirting with $69 a barrel and earnings worries despite Philips's above-forecast quarterly profits.

Philips posted a fourth-quarter net profit of 332 million euros ($401.3 million), beating analysts' forecast of 224 million euros, but this failed to boost a tech sector rattled by recent disappointing updates by Intel and Infineon.

Philips shares were 0.6 percent lower but this was still better than the rest of the technology sector. (Full story)

By 0810 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips was 0.96 percent lower at 1,271.54 points, after setting a session low of 1,270.92, which was its weakest level in almost five weeks. The narrower DJ Euro STOXX 50 index was 0.9 percent lower at 3,518.39 points.

Earnings concerns dominated the market, with investors wary that a batch of reports from European blue chips such as STMicroelectronics, SAP, Nokia and Siemens may not come as strong as market players had expected.

Oil prices rose to $68.52 a barrel amid worries about an escalation in the standoff between Iran and the West after a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying that Tehran would resume industrial-scale uranium enrichment if it was referred to the United Nations Security Council. (Full story)

Mobile phone group O2 was among the rare gainers, adding 0.1 percent after announcing it had added 1.75 million new customers in the key Christmas quarter, beating forecasts, and saying it hoped to maintain the growth momentum after its takeover.

Centrica was another out-performer, gaining 2 percent after the Independent on Sunday newspaper reported that Russian state-controlled gas giant Gazprom was considering a takeover bid for the owner of British Gas.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

LINK

In case you missed it, Putin has hired Bush best-buddy, Don Evans, of Texas, to run Gazprom.

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