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Thursday 30th of October 2008
January 30, 2007

Eurofirst, Wall Street, London markets see gains; Tokyo mixed

by Elaine Frei

World equities markets were mixed but mostly higher on Tuesday. Europe, London and Wall Street all saw gains, but the Tokyo markets were mixed.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was 0.1 percent higher to 17,490.19. The Topix index, however, dropped 0.1 percent to 1,731.60 and the Mothers market of small and mid-caps fell 3.5 percent to 1,181.13 on profit-taking. Steel was mostly lower on disappointment with outlooks, while consumer finance dropped on losses. Export sectors were mixed on profit-taking, but the securities sector saw gains on quarterly results which were down from last year but better than the previous quarter.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 0.4 percent to 1,522.33. Airlines were higher on recent lower oil prices and on mergers & acquisitions news. Machinery manufacturing was also higher, but the telecommunications sector was mixed and pharma dropped on bids rumors.

In London, the FTSE 100 added 0.03 percetn to 6,242 and the FTSE 250 gained 0.2 percetn to 11,131. Miners were higher, and in the supermarkets sector J Sainsbury gained after rumors that it is a target of a private equity house. The energy sector was mixed, with British Energy lower on rumors of problems at some of its nuclear power stations as well as on falling wholesale prices for power.

In mid-afternoon trade in New York, equities markets were up ahead of a decision from the Federal Reserve on interest rates, due Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.2 percent higher to 12,426.95, while the Nasdaq Composite was also up 0.2 percent, to 2,446. The S&P 500 added 0.45 percent to 1,426.95. At the height of the earnings season, reports were mixed. Airlines were down after gains earlier in the day. The pharmaceuticals sector and stock exchange operators also saw losses.

In the currency markets, the yen was flat versus the US dollar and the euro, while sterling was stronger versus the greenback and the shared currency even though house price growth slowed in January. The US dollar remained range bound, while the Swedish krona gained on higher retail sales in December.

Crude oil prices were higher on a report in the Wall Street Journal that Saudi Arabia will cut production again on February 1and forecasts of cold weather in the Northeast US through mid-February. In metals markets, gold was range bound while most base metals were lower with nickel dropping 4.4 percent. Copper was the main exception, with prices higher on lower inventories.

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