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SAS shares rise again on Lufthansa rumours; Finnair cutting 1,700 flight crew helps share prices


European stocks rose on 16-Dec-08. London's FTSE increased 31.52 points to (+0.74% ), closing at 4309.08, the Paris CAC 40 rose 66.0 (+2.07%) to 3251.66, while the Frankfurt Dax 30 was up 75.09 (+1.61%) closing at 4729.91.

Asian shares closed mixed on the day. Japan's Nikkei average slipped -96.64 points (-1.12%) to 8568.02, as investors took profits before the key US Federal Reserve meeting to slash interest rates, while the Australian S&P/ASX200 index was down 35.2 points (-0.98%) at 3556.2. The Hang Seng closed on positive territory up 83.26 (+0.55%) to 15130.21, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index on the Shanghai Stock Exchange gained 10.63 points (+0.54) 1,975.01, while the Mumbai Sensex also closed on positive territory up 144.59 points (+1.47%) to 9,976.98.

US stocks soared in late trading on 16-Dec-08 as investors applauded the Federal Reserve's decision to cut its target federal funds rate from 1.0%, already at a historic low, to 0.25%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 362.32 points (+4.23%) to 8,926.85, the Nasdaq jumped 81.55 points (+5.41%) to 1,589.89 and the S&P500 index rose 44.69 points (+5.13%) to a preliminary close of 913.18.

Oil prices

Oil prices fell yet again as worries about shrinking global energy demand countered a US Federal Reserve interest rate cut and expectations OPEC will reduce supplies further. Oil prices fell USD0.60 (-2%) to USD43.91 a barrel. Oil ministers from OPEC are expected to announce plans cut output by 2 million barrels a day on 17-Dec-08, while Russia, the top non-OPEC producer, stated it could reduce exports by 320,000 barrels per day to balance oil markets increase prices.

Europe Airline share prices

Once again SAS (+4.8%) benefited on 16-Dec-08 from continued speculation about Lufthansa acquiring all or part of the Scandinavian flag carrier.

Finnair (+3.2%) meanwhile rose for quite different reasons, as it announced it would require cabin crew to rotate and take holidays in the Spring, in order to reduce crew costs in that way, rather than merely reducing staff numbers. Early retirement and layoffs of temporary staff would complete the changes, leading to an expected EUR 25 million in savings.

And Aer Lingus (-4.2%) stock fell back, as Ryanair's bid to buy it appeared to be losing traction with the key government shareholder.

European selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 16-Dec-08

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