European shares finished up on Tuesday, but are still on track for huge losses this year.
Traders in Frankfurt raised glasses of champagne at the close of their final session of the year, but it smacked more of drowning their sorrows with little relief in sight in the new year: Trader Oliver Roth said: “All signs point to a rough performance in 2009, at least during the first half of the year. We will see that businesses will earn considerably less. We will also see cases of insolvency and many other sorts of crises.” Across Europe, banks performed well as did oil companies despite crude prices falling three percent. The British pound is still flirted with parity against the euro as investors continue to respond to signs of gloom in the UK economy and the prospect of more aggressive interest rate cuts . Sterling has fallen to a six-and-a-half year low against the dollar.