Asian Stocks Finish Mostly Higher, Europe Trades Mixed

LONDON (The Deal) -- Asian markets drew the most attention Monday, while European markets were mixed. Hong Kong and China both performed well despite a hint from Chinese President Xi Jinping that the country should regard its recently slower rate of growth as the new normal. That's because China's State Council over the weekend also reiterated a commitment to financial market liberalization. 


Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 1.82% at 22,261.61 while the Shanghai composite closed up 2.08% at 2.052.87. Tokyo closed down 0.35% at 14,149.52, however, because of a widening trade deficit. India's markets hit record highs on the final day of the country's month-long general election campaign. The business community there is convinced strong leadership by opposition prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi would end years of ineffectual drift by the current Congress government. But the votes haven't been counted yet and nothing's certain at this point.

In London, mining stocks did well on the assumption that China's reforms would steady demand for metals. The biggest decliner in London was satellite and pay TV leader British Sky Broadcasting, which confirmed early stage talks with controlling shareholder 21st Century Fox FOX to buy Sky TV assets in Germany and Italy. It said little about the Italian situation, but indicated it could acquire Fox's 57% stake in the German company and then make a no-premium general offer to other shareholders, provided the share price remained undisturbed. BkyB fell 2.4% in London, while its German sister company Sky Deutschland shot up 6.2%.

Also in London, mid-cap cell-phone reseller Carphone Warehouse and computers and TVs retailer Dixons International both rose slightly on reports the two could ink a long-rumored merger deal later this week. It's understood to entail an all-share takeover by Carphone of Dixons, though it will be presented as a merger of equals, with the top roles shared between the two companies.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 6,828, while in Germany the DAX index was up 0.34% at 9,614.13. But in Paris, with little market moving news to act as a catalyst, the CAC 40 index was down 0.21% at 6,829.

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