European, UK markets see significant gains

| February 1, 2007 | 0 Comments

In Japan on Thursday, the Tokyo equities markets were higher despite another huge decline by scandal-beset Nikko Cordial. The Nikkei 225 was 0.8 percent higher to 17,519.50, while the Topix index added 1 percent to 1,738.58. The electronics sector was mixed, while carmaker Honda saw declines in an otherwise higher automobile manufacturing sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was also 1 percent higher on the session, 15.5 points higher to 1,530.13. Banks were higher, as was the pharmaceuticals sector. The oil sector was also higher, while engineering was lower after Atlas Copco’s profits report was disappointing.

In London, meanwhile, the FTSE 100 added 1.3 percent to 6,282.2 on strong finishes in several sectors, including oil and pharmaceuticals. The FTSE 250 was also up strongly, 1.1 percent higher to 11,221.5. Trade was strong, as 4 billion shares changed hands.

The New York markets were mixed in mid-afternoon trade. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Russell 2000 index of small and mid-caps were all higher, the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 0.1 percent to 2,461.61. The Dow was 0.1 percent higher to 12,637.55, while the S&P had added 0.3 percent to 1,442.45 after going as high as 1,444.01 as trade began, and the Russell was up 0.5 percent to 804.57 after a record close on Wednesday. In earnings news, ExxonMobil reported that it notched the highest ever yearly profit in 2006 despite fourth quarter profits falling by 4 percent.

Crude oil prices were mixed during the day, while natural gas prices dropped substantially after US stockpiles were reported to be down less last week than had bee expected. In metals markets, gold was higher. Aluminium was higher as well, but most other base metals prices declined.

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