Aquarius Platinum, Xstrata lead miners in London

AQP, XTA lead miners in London

European equities markets closed higher Friday, helped by gains in the mining sector.

In London, the FTSE 100 added 2.88 percent to 4,561.79 and the FTSE 250 gained 4.19 percent to 6,627.17 as miners led winners on both indices.

Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP; ASX: AQP; JSE: AQP) led all miners traded in London with a gain of 20.2 percent while the biggest winner on the 100 was Xstrata (LSE: XTA), which gained 16.8 percent on the session.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 2.62 percent to 853.74 while the IBEX was up 3.16 percent to 9,486.3, the Dax gained 3.39 percent to 4,973.07 and the CAC-40 was 4.09 percent higher to 3,349.69.

With several major Asian equities exchanges still closed for the holidays, most of those which were open for business in the region saw gains on hopes that government moves will help minimize the effects of the global recession.

While Australian markets declined as the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.1 percent to 3,655.7 and the S&P/ASX200 fell 0.23 percent to 3,713.8, Hong Konga��s Hang Seng saw its biggest first trading day of the year since 1970 as it gained 4.55 percent to 15,042.81 and Indiaa��s Sensex hit a 2-week high with a gain of 0.55 percent to 9,958.22 in anticipation of the expected announcement of the second stimulus package there in a month.

Elsewhere in the region, South Koreaa��s Kospi was up 2.93 percent to 1,157.4 and the Straits Times Index gained 3.87 percent to 1,829.71 while markets in Tokyo, China and Taiwan remained closed.

Wall Street was up in early afternoon trade despite bleak news on manufacturing, as the Institute for Supply Managementa��s manufacturing index came in at 32.4 in December, its lowest in 28 years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.84 to 8,938.08 in early afternoon trade while the Nasdaq Composite had added 2.16 percent to 1,611.08 and the S&P 500 was 1.88 percent higher to 920.22.

Crude oil prices and the prices for most metals saw gains on the session.

The euro weakened in relation to the US dollar and the yen, while the pound also weakened on newly released manufacturing and mortgage approvals data.

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