Most equities markets higher on session

Most equities markets higher on session

Tokyo equities markets were higher on Tuesday, with the Nikkei 225 adding 0.4 percent to 17,406.86 and the Topix index gaining 0.9 percent to 1,732.42. Carmakers were higher, as were camera makers and tech stocks. Banks were lower on a sector downgrade from Goldman Sachs.

European markets were higher as well, with the FTSE Eurofirst 300 adding 0.3 percent to 1,543.04, another six-year high. Banks were higher on the session, while oil was lower after UK company BP’s quarterly results did not pass muster. In the medical services sector, dialysis provider Fresenius Medical Care gained on a proposal in the US to make private insurers pay for dialysis for a longer period before Medicare benefits begin.

In London, both the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 saw gains. The 100 added 0.4 percent to 6,346.3, while the 250 was 0.6 percent higher to 11,479.4 and the FTSE All-Share index gained 0.5 percent to 3,290.67. The 250 and All-Share closed at all-time highs, while the 100 reached a six-year peak. Supermarkets were higher, with rumors circulating that a group from Qatar had bought a 1 percent stake in Sainsbury. BAE Systems gained on record requests for military spending in the proposed 2008 US budget.

The markets were mixed in New York at midday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.2 percent higher to 12,638.03, but the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 0.6 percent to 2,455.52 and the S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent to 1,443.95. The Nasdaq was hurt by declines for National Semiconductor as earnings news was in focus.

Crude oil prices were higher again ahead of Wednesday’s weekly report on US inventories from the Energy Information Administration, while heating oil was higher but natural gas prices remained steady. The EIA said that OPEC production was down by 600,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter, half of what was promised, and that it expected the oil cartel to implement 300,000 barrels per day of its promised 500,000 barrels per day from the beginning of February. Meanwhile, base metals prices were mostly up, but aluminium ended flat on the session. Gold remained about $650 per troy ounce.

In currency markets, the yen made gains on the US dollar and the euro early in the day but ended up slightly lower against each. The dollar was slightly lower versus the euro, while sterling gained strength.

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