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Tuesday 07th of October 2008
February 14, 2007

Equities markets higher, crude oil prices decline

by Elaine Frei

Equities markets higher, crude oil prices decline

The Nikkei 225 neared a seven-year high on Wednesday, closing at 17,752.64, a gain of 0.74 percent. The Topix index was also higher, adding 0.54 percent to 1,765.31. The gains came as export-focused stocks went higher as the yen weakened. Tire and rubber companies also were up, as was the mining sector, which was helped by consolidation rumors.

European equities markets were higher on the day. The CAC in Paris closed up .76 percent to 5,725.8, while the Xetra Dax in Frankfurt ended the session at 6,961.2, a gain of .95 percent. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 gained 0.8 percent to 1,547.93. Steelmakers were higher after ThyssenKrupp (LSE: THK) received broker upgrades. Banks were mixed on the session.

The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 both added 0.6 percent on the day, with the 100 closing at 6,421.2, a six-year high and the first time it has closed above 6,400 since December 2000. The 250 reached another record high as it closed at 11,541.3. As in Tokyo, miners were up on consolidation talk. Plumber and building supply company Wolseley (LSE: WOS) and retailer DSG International (LSE: DSGI) both helped out the 100 by gaining on bids rumors from private equity.

Wall Street was up in afternoon trade after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that the US economy continues to grow and inflation is beginning to recede. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.7 percent to 12,742.02, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.4 percent to 2,492.98 and the S&P 500 was 0.8 percent higher to 1,456.36. Mr. Bernanke’s comments especially helped homebuilders and mortgage lenders.

Crude oil prices were lower after weekly inventory reports in the US showed that while crude oil, gasoline, and distillate stockpiles were lower last week, they were not down as much as had been anticipated. Heating oil futures were also lower. Metals prices, on the other hand, saw gains on the session.

In global currencies markets, the US dollar weakened after Mr. Bernanke’s testimony before Congress was interpreted as implying that US interest rates will not rise in the near term. Sterling and the euro were both higher on new data and on comments from the Bank of England and from an official of the European Central Bank.

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