European equities hits by by economic data

European equities hits by by economic data

Falling business confidence in Germany had more influence on investors than did good earnings reports as the European equities market dropped slightly Wednesday even though averages were up at one point in the day.

German economics institute Ifo reported that business sentiment was down for the fourth straight month on higher unemployment and lower consumer confidence. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 retreated 0.1 percent to close at 1,094.89.

In the energy sector, OMV, the oil and gas group, rose 5.3 percent to a��270.10 as its first-quarter operating profits were reported to have risen by 223 percent on acquisitions and profits from higher oil prices.

Spanish oil company Repsol gained 1.2 percent to a��20.18 on news that it was negotiating with First Calgary Petroleums to enter into a joint venture to develop Algerian national gas resources. In addition, Norsk Hydro gained 1.2 percent to NKr514, while Statoil was up 0.9 percent to NKr112.25.

The pharmaceuticals sector had difficulties as Roche lost Tuesdaya��s gains to profit-taking, to close at SFr154.50, and Serno was down 0.6 percent to SFr775 when the US Food and Drug Administration warned that the companya��s multiple sclerosis drug could cause heart damage.

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