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European Stocks Close Higher

February 17, 2000

LONDON (AP) _ European stocks closed higher Thursday as investors sought refuge in stocks less vulnerable to higher interest rates, such as food and utilities, in anticipation of warnings of rate hikes from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

European investors expected Greenspan to indicate more interest rate rises were on the way to prevent the U.S. economy from overheating. Greenspan didn’t disappoint when he presented the Federal Reserve’s twice-a-year report on the economy to Congress, warning of inflation threats on the horizon.

Other stocks less susceptible to interest rate rises, such as chemicals, beverages and, to a lesser extent, pharmaceuticals, also rose in Europe.

The stocks benefiting included drug giants Glaxo Wellcome, up 13 pence to 1,472 pence, and SmithKline Beecham, up 24 pence to 698 pence.

Among chemical stocks, Air Liquide rose 4.80 euros to 151 euros, and BASF gained 2.51 euros to 46.50 euros.

Utility company PowerGen gained 26 pence to 433 pence.

Within the food industry, Cadbury Schweppes rose 35 pence, or 10 percent, to 377 pence, Nestle rose 25 Swiss francs to 2,675 Swiss francs, and Unilever ended 80 cents higher at 46.13 euros.

The Dow Jones Stoxx Index of European companies closed 3.99 points higher at 380.11, while the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx Index, which tracks companies in countries joining the single currency, rose 5.41 points to 437.70.

The Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 Index finished 61.07 points higher at 5124.80, while the DJ Stoxx 50 Index ended 43.70 points higher at 4781.26.

In domestic markets, the Paris CAC 40 index closed up 1.8 percent to 6,154.96, Frankfurt’s Xetra DAX index closed 1.7 percent higher to 7,580.53, Zurich’s SMI gained 1.4 percent to 7,029.4, Amsterdam’s AEX rose 1.1 percent to 667.97, London’s FTSE 100 index rose 1 percent to 6,209.3 and Milan’s MIBTEL finished 0.8 percent higher to 32,210

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