In the UK, the FTSE 100 Index has declined 11.7 points, or 0.2%, to 5358 so far this morning, paced by Smiths Group.
Lloyds TSB Group has also slipped after analysts cut the lender's share-price forecast this morning.
Smiths, which builds refueling systems for Boeing planes, has dropped 22p, or 2.3%, to 930p. The company says full-year earnings have risen 3.7% to £220.8m missing the median estimate of £231m.
Lloyds TSB, the UK’s fifth-largest bank, has lost 3.25p, or 0.7%, to 461.25p. Analysts this morning lowered its share-price forecast to 450p from 475p because of slowing loan growth.
Amstrad, which makes television set-top boxes for British Sky Broadcasting Group, has fallen 15.75p or 11%, to 131.25p. Amstrad says it doesn't expect full-year earnings to match the £13.8m in 2005.
Marks & Spencer Group, the UK’s largest clothing retailer, has gained 2.5p, or 0.7%, to 356.5p after analysts this morning raised the recommendation on its shares to “hold” from “reduce.”
In Japan, stocks fell as Hurricane Rita pushed oil prices higher and a report showed increased fuel-import costs caused the nation's trade surplus to shrink more than expected in August. Honda paced the decline.
Energy-related shares such as Nippon Oil and Inpex advanced along with the jump in oil prices.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 37.21 points, or 0.3%, to 13,159.36 at its close a short while ago.
Honda, Japan's third-largest car manufacturer, fell 130 yen, or 2.1%, to 5,990. The company had more than 75% of its sales in North America last year. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Japan's third-largest lender, dropped 20,000 yen, or 1.9%, to 1.01 million.
Oil for November delivery climbed as much as 1.5% to $67.81 a barrel in after-hours trading in New York.
Millea Holdings, Japan's largest casualty and property insurer, lost 130,000 yen, or 6.9%, to 1.75 million yen.
Nippon Oil, Japan's biggest oil refiner, surged 63 yen, or 6.9% to 980. Inpex, the biggest explorer, advanced 18,000 yen, or 2.1%, to 887,000.
Seiko Epson plunged by its exchange-imposed daily limit of 500 yen, or 14% to 3,000. The company forecast a profit of 22 billion yen in the year ending March, 50% lower than its July estimate, when it cut the forecast by 19%.
Canon, the world's biggest maker of copiers, lost 70 yen, or 1.2%, to 5,780. The company said in July that profit will fall for the first time in 13 quarters because of lower digital camera and office equipment prices.
Sony, the maker of the PSP portable game console and Cyber-shot digital cameras, dropped 90 yen, or 2.2%, to 3,940.
In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 103.49 points, or 1%, to 10,378.03 as traders worried about the damage that Hurricane Rita might wreak on Texas refineries.
Stocks slid after oil futures rose as much as $2 a barrel in morning trading, meanwhile BP began closing some of its refinery operations yesterday.
FedEx rose $6.15, to $83.15, after it said that first-quarter profit rose modestly, weighed down by an accounting charge, while revenue showed solid growth as daily package volume expanded.
Setting aside a one-time charge from changing its lease accounting, earnings would have been $1.25 a share, well above analysts' estimates.
Avon Products fell $3.60, to $27, after the company cut its 2005 earnings forecast late Tuesday. Its new forecast is well below both the company's previous forecast and analysts' expectations.IFAonline
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