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Thursday 28th of August 2008
August 21, 2008

Barratt, Persimmon lead house builders higher

by Elaine Frei
Barratt, Persimmon lead house builders higher

Most European equities markets saw declines Thursday as investors remained worried about losses related to the credit crisis after Citigroup (NYSE: C; TYO: 8710) forecast that Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) will have to write down as much as $6.4 billion collectively in the third quarter.

London’s markets were mixed, with the FTSE 100 down 0.03 percent to 5,370.2 while the FTSE 250 added 0.47 percent to 8,939.

The 250 was helped out by gains for some house builders as Persimmon (LSE: PSN) added 11 percent even though it reported earnings are down by 87 percent and Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) gained 13.75 percent on the session.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.86 percent to 1,155.28 while the Dax was 1.28 percent lower to 6,236.96, the CAC-40 fell 4,304.61 and the IBEX dropped 1.43 percent to 11,217.4.

Asia-Pacific region equities markets also saw declines as banks were down on the expanding worries about losses related to the credit crisis.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.77 percent to 12,752.21 while the Topix index dropped 0.72 percent to 1,224.53 but the Mothers market of small and mid-caps added 0.15 percent to 452.33.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries were 0.96 percent lower to 4,949.6 while the S&P/ASX200 dropped 1.1 percent to 4,872.2.

Elsewhere in the region, the Straits Times Index was down 1.39 percent to 2,713.47 while the Taiex fell 1.74 percent to 6,918.48 in Taiwan, the Kospi dropped 1.83 percent to 1,512, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 2.58 percent lower to 10,392.06, the Sensex was down 2.96 percent to 14,243.73 and the Shanghai Composite dropped 3.63 percent to 2,431.72.

New York markets were lower in early afternoon trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.31 percent to 11,382.26 at around 1 p.m. while the Nasdaq Composite was 0.86 percent lower to 2,368.44 and the S&P 500 had dropped 0.17 percent to 1,272.35.

Crude oil prices spiked, rising by nearly $6 per barrel in both New York and London trade, while metals and grains prices also saw substantial gains.

The yen and the Swiss franc strengthened as investors fled from risk while the US dollar was weaker.

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