Paris virtually unmoved, Frankfurt pushes lower

 

Paris shares declined in afternoon trading amid concern about how Axa intended to spend funds received under Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette's absorption into Credit Suisse First Boston.

Axa shares reached record highs in morning trading in anticipation of the $8.1 billion it stood to gain by selling its 71 per cent stake in DLJ. But investors took fright in the afternoon as concern grew that the money would be spent on acquisitions. The shares closed down 4.64 per cent at €164.5.

Media stocks were also in demand as large investors returned after the summer lull. Leading the advance was TF1, France's leading television channel, up nearly 5 per cent to €78 after unveiling its autumn programme schedule.

The CAC-40 index ended virtually unmoved at 6,634.62.

Frankfurt pushed lower on blue-chip selling with motor, financial and technology sectors picked out for special attention.

BMW tumbled €1.99 to €36.16 and DaimlerChrysler came off €1.116 at €58.64 on broad profit-taking among old-economy stocks. Retailer Karstadt Quelle lost 98 cents at €34.11.

Chemicals and drugs group Schering was a clear casualty of this trend. The shares, which hit an all-time peak of €68.46 this month, came off €2.75 or 4.5 per cent at €58.25.

Among technology-related stocks, Deutsche Telekom lost €1.08 at €43.61 and Infineon €1.60 at €74.90.

The Xetra DAX index was off 97.79 at 7,196.61 at 5.30 p.m. German time.

Amsterdam shed 6.05 at 685.31 on the AEX after sharp falls at KPN and Philips and a wave of profit-taking at Akzo Nobel.

Telecoms leader KPN tumbled €1.98 or 6.4 per cent to €28.91 on disappointing results and dividend news. Philips lost €1.15 at €53.20 as sentiment turned against technology shares.

Milan struggled out of negative territory around mid-session but was unable to make much further progress. By the close, the Mibtel index was 43 higher at 32,633.

Cables and tyre group Pirelli and its controlling company Pirelli & C hit new highs for the year ahead of board meetings tomorrow, which might reveal news about shortening the group's command chain. Pirelli gained 2.9 per cent to €3.05, while Pirelli & C was 3.4 per cent higher at €2.90.