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Euro Markets Close Lower, Banks Drag

CNBC.com
Tuesday, 4 Dec 2007 | 11:45 AM ET

European shares ended firmly lower Tuesday as banking stocks sank in the run up to European and British interest-rate decisions and concern over tightness in the credit market remained.

Ahead of Thursday's rate decision by the European Central Bank, ECB Governing Council member Christian Noyer said Europe is "facing a huge shock in the financial markets" but also said that losses did not pose a major risk to the financial system, Reuters reported.

U.K. banks Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland were all amoung the biggest losers on the FTSE-100.

Looking to individual companies, the world's biggest mobile handsets maker, Nokia, said it expects operating profit margins to rise to 20 percent over the next two years.

But its shares 4.4 percent lower, as investors had expected a more upbeat outlook.

Analysts say the company prefers to beat its own forecasts than surprise the market with negative news later.

"Nokia is being conservative," Emeka Obiodu, from Global Insight, told "European Closing Bell."

"Yes, their expectancy is to grow and improve but they don't want to get the market too buoyant about that," Obiodu added.

Nokia also announced it has agreed with the world's largest music group Universal to offer free 12-month access to Universal artists' music for buyers of Nokia's music phones.

"You buy your Nokia phone and with the purchase price, comes one year of music. We think that's an innovative model. We'll open that up in more markets next year," Nokia CFO Rick Simonson told "Worldwide Exchange."

German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp shares ended 6 percent lower after reporting a rise in annual operating profitthat fell short of market expectations

U.K. retailer Tesco reported third-quarter salesin line with forecasts, but the stock sank 0.7 percent in a negative FTSE.

And Swiss Life shares fell 0.9 percent, beating the Zurich SMI, after it boosted forecastsand said the credit crisis would have little effect on its business.

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