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European Stocks Finish Mixed as Energy, Banks Fall

The European stock indexes closed mixed Wednesday as declines in the price of oil dragged energy stocks into the red, matching losses in banking shares.

London's FTSE-100 closed slightly higher, the Paris CAC-40 slightly lower and the Frankfurt DAX finished flat.

Looking to individual companies, Britain's Cadbury Schweppes said it will spin off its US soft drinks unit to existing shareholders, listing it on the New York Stock Exchange, instead of selling it off. Investors welcomed the decision, sending shares higher to close at 2.6% in the green.

Sales at UK supermarket chain J. Sainsbury slowed in the quarter ended Oct. 6, but in line with expectations, while Carphone Warehouse rose 1.5% after handily topping expectations for new mobile-phone connections.

In Germany, insurer Allianz said affirmed its full-year profit forecast, despite the impact of the credit crunch on its Dresdner Bank unit.

And, shares of Northern Rock closed 32.2% higher, as activist investor Jon Wood urged the Bank of England and Treasury to let the troubled mortgage lender complete its strategic review without panic measures being implemented. Wood is thought to have built a 4% stake in the UK bank, the Financial Times reported.