European Stocks End Lower, Oil Spike Boosts Energy Firms
The major European stock markets closed lower Monday, as investors prepared for a week packed with important global earnings reports, but energy stocks surged as the price of oil hit a new record high.
New York Light Sweet Crude hit $85 a barrel for the first time in its trading history and remained near the record level as winter supply worries and continuing tensions between Turkey and the US underpinned demand for the resource. BP, Rio Tinto, EDF and E.On all led the European gainers' boards.
Meanwhile, financial stocks failed to get a boost from news some of the world's largest banks, including Citigroup, were planning to set up an $80 billion fund to buy mortgage asset-backed securities to stop more damage from the global credit crunch.
London's FTSE-100, the Frankfurt DAX and the Paris CAC-40 were all firmly lower at the end of trading.
Looking to the economy, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet told CNBC's Silvia Wadhwa that "verbal discipline" was necessary when those in power speak about the strength of the euro, indicating he is not happy about recent political clamoring for the single currency to depreciate.
And, European earnings reports got off to a mixed start. Dutch electronics company Philips said third-quarter operating profit beat analysts' expectations, but also reported weakness in the operating profit of its medical division.
Global brewer SAB Miller reported an 11% rise in first-half beer sales, largely as expected, but analysts said higher input costs were a disappointment and the stock lost 1.6% in London.
But French luxury goods maker LVMH topped forecasts with an 8% rise in sales for the first nine months of the year.