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January 14, 2009    

Royal Bank of Scotland leads London banks lower

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by Elaine Frei
Royal Bank of Scotland leads London banks lower

Equities markets in Europe saw significant declines Wednesday as the banking sector declined both in London and on the continent.

The FTSE 200 was down 4.97 percent to 4,180.64 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 2.81 percent to 6,363.59.

The London banking sector was lower, with Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS; NYSE: RBS PRM), down 18.4 percent on the session for the biggest decline in the sector.

Elsewhere in the region, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 4.31 percent to 804.17 while the IBEX fell 4.03 percent to 8,692.7, the CAC-40 dropped 4.56 percent to 3,052 and the Dax was 4.63 percent lower to 4,422.35.

Most Asia-Pacific equities markets, on the other hand, saw gains on the session.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.29 percent to 8,438.45 while the Topix index gained 0.65 percent to 819.39 and the Mothers market of small and mid-caps added 1.75 percent to 335.33.

The Straits Times Index was up 0.16 percent to 1,764.72 and the Hang Seng added 0.27 percent to 13,704.61, while in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.85 percent to 3,624.3 and the S&P/ASX200 was 0.89 percent higher to 3,687.

South Korea’s Kospi added 1.28 percent to 1,182.68, the Sensex was up 3.3 percent to 9,370.49 and the Shanghai Composite gained 3.52 percent to 1,928.87, but Taiwan’s Taiex dropped 0.24 percent to 4,521.47.

In afternoon trade in New York the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 3.04 percent to 8,192.1 while the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 3.2 percent to 1,497 and the S&P 500 was 3.43 percent lower to 841.9.

Crude oil prices were mixed, with prices lower in New York but higher for Brent crude in London, while precious metals prices saw more declines in New York and grains prices were up slightly on the Chicago Board of Trade.

The dollar strengthened further in relation to the euro.

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