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Wednesday 20th of August 2008
February 23, 2007

Equities markets end week mixed

by Elaine Frei

Equities markets end week mixed

The Tokyo equities markets ended the week with gains on new advances in some domestic sectors in a week where interest rates were raised by the Bank of Japan. The Nikkei 225 added 0.4 percent Friday to 18,188.42, while the Topix index gained 0.7 percent to 1,814.96 and the Mothers index of small and mid-caps was 2.4 percent higher to 1,189.61. The securities and real estate sectors were especially successful, while the electronics sector was mixed.

In Europe, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 held steady over the week after finding a six-year high on Monday as it closed at 1,543.71 at the end of Friday’s session. The automobile manufacturing sector was mixed on the week, with gains and losses driven by profits reports. Banks were also mixed.

The FTSE 100 was up on the day but down for the week in London. It closed 0.3 percent higher on Friday, to 6,401.5, a decline of 0.3 percent on the week. Miners were higher as metals prices continued to climb, while the oil sector was also up as crude oil prices advanced. The retail sector saw gains as well, while there were declines in banking, defense, and telecommunications.

Wall Street was lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq Composite, and the S&P 500 each down 0.3 percent in morning trade after Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) was fined $1.5 billion in a patents case and oil prices were higher again, driven by continuing concerns over Iran’s refusal to suspend its nuclear program.

Among commodities, prices for oil and metals continue to rise. Besides the Iran issue, oil and petroleum products prices were sent higher on supply concerns after data showed that US refineries only operated at 85.2 percent last week. Nickel, lead and uranium all hit records during the week, while copper added around 8 percent to its price over the week.

In the currencies markets, the yen weakened over the week, while the euro and sterling both saw gains. While the US dollar was helped by higher than expected consumer price inflation figures, good news for the euro and sterling allowed both currencies to gain on the greenback.

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