NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- European markets rose in thin trading Wednesday, as a roller-coaster 2014 drew to a close. Frankfurt -- which closed for the New Year on Dec. 30 -- finished the year up 2.7%. Both Paris and London are still a tad below year-ago levels, though still well ahead of their October lows.
In London, the natural-resources heavy FTSE100 is still burdened by the fall in oil and mineral prices.
Also tugging the index down this year were the difficulties of the big supermarket chains in their battle for the consumer's purse, with the German discount grocers Aldi and Lidl as major contenders. But as shoppers piled in to collect their New Year's Eve party supplies, supermarkets put on a few extra pence. Tesco (TESO) rose 0.99% to 188.75 pence, while J. Sainsbury (JSAIY) was up 0.12% at 244.90 pence.
In the mid-market, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment (PYGMF) was up 0.17% at 116.4 pence by mid-morning, despite falling sharply in early trading on poor fourth-quarter sports betting margins. The Gibraltar-based online betting company said it was on track to deliver the €30 million ($36.5 million) of cost savings it promised for 2014. It said it was in active talks on the sale of its social gaming business, Win, and expected to make an announcement soon. Meanwhile, talks on partnerships or potential business combinations for the remainder of the company were ongoing.