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Euro-zone bourses closed lower yesterday after hawkish remarks by European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.

11 January 2008

MADRID - Euro-zone bourses closed lower yesterday after hawkish remarks by European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.

The ECB as expected left its key lending rate on hold at 4.0 percent despite inflation in the single European currency zone moving well above the bank's target of 2 percent. But Trichet said the bank was "in a position of total alertness" and was ready to take pre-emptive action to stem inflationary pressures.

The Spanish bourse opened higher after overnight gains on Wall Street but moved into negative territory on profit-taking after the ECB meeting. Share prices, however, managed to close off their lows ahead of comments by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the world's largest economy.

The Spanish blue-chip Ibex 35 closed down 0.54 percent at 14,524.00 points after trading in a range of 14,480-14,684. The Madrid general index lost 0.63 percent to 1,564.90 points. Open-market deals in the continuous market came to about EUR 5.4 billion.

In the rest of Europe, Frankfurt shed 0.89 percent, Paris was down 0.64 percent, while London gave up 0.80 percent.

Colonial added 1.53 percent after it said it may raise about 1 billion from the sale of up to a 33-percent interest in its French real-estate unit SFL to pay off debt.

Medium-sized banks recovered some ground. Bankinter added 5.15 percent after reports French lender Société Générale had built up a 3 percent stake. Banesto added 3.52 percent to EUR 11.77 after ING raised its recommendation on the Santander unit and raised its target price to EUR 15. Banesto is due to release its 2007 results today.

Santander and BBVA shed 1.17 and 2.24 percent respectively. Telefónica rose 0.57 percent.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / Adrián Soto 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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