Barclays leads banks lower in London

Barclays leads banks lower in London

Equities markets were lower in Europe Tuesday, with banks mostly lower and only two winners each on the Paris CAC-40 and on the Dax in Frankfurt.

The FTSE 100 was 1.08 percent lower to 5,154.15 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.75 percent to 9,388.83.

Banks were lower in London after an analyst downgrade for US bank Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) from “buy” to “neutral”, with Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) falling most with a decline of 3.39 percent on the session.

Retailers were mostly lower, with Marks and Spencer (LSE: MKS) falling 4.28 percent, the most on the 100 and in the sector, while clothing retailer Next (LSE: NXT) down 2.93 percent.

Most miners were down on falling metals prices, with nickel miner Talvivaara Mining Company (LSE: TALV) faring worst as it dropped 2.07 percent, but platinum miner Lonmin (LSE: LMI) added 1.93 percent on the session and gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) gained 1.09 percent.

Insurers were lower, with specialty insurer Hiscox (LSE: HSX) the biggest decliner in the sector with a drop of 5.39 percent, but Old Mutual (LSE: OML) managed a gain of 0.82 percent on the session.

Engineers Smiths Group (LSE: SMIN) had the best day on the 100 as it added 2.16 percent, while media group ITV (LSE: ITV) turned in the best performance on the 250 with a gain of 6.8 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.89 percent to 996.41 while the CAC-40 fell 1.15 percent to 3,801.39, the Dax was 1.19 percent lower to 5,714.31 and the IBEX dropped 1.2 percent to 11,608.3.

The CAC-40 had only two winners, one each in the automobile manufacturing and banking sectors, while the Dax also managed only two gainers, one in the retail sector and one among steel makers.

Asian markets were mixed, with more seeing gains than declines.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.6 percent higher to 10,076.56 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 0.4 percent to 901.4 and the Mothers market gained 0.27 percent to 443.56.

The steel sector saw gains after Goldman Sachs upgraded the Asian steel sector from “neutral” to “attractive” on the theory that demand will probably go up next year, an idea that was supported by a statement from the World Steel Association that the global steel market will advance by 9.2 percent in 2010.

Kobe Steel (TYO: 4506) was up 2.5 percent while JFE Holdings (TYO: 5411) and Nippon Steel (TYO: 5401) each added 4.8 percent on the session after Goldman Sachs put JFE on its “conviction buy” list and upgraded Nippon Steel from “neutral” to “buy”.

Carmakers and other exporters were higher as the yen weakened.

Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was up 2.2 percent while Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) added 2.6 percent.

Other markets in the region seeing gains included the Hang Seng, which added 0.79 percent to 21,467.36 in Hong Kong, while in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.93 percent to 4,789.8 and the S&P/ASX200 was 0.97 percent higher to 4,785.7.

The Shanghai Composite added 1.44 percent to 2,936.19.

The Taiex fell 0.04 percent to 7,596.6 in Taiwan, while the Kospi was down 0.66 percent to 1,628.93 and India’s Sensex was closed for the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1 percent to 9,876.35 at just past 12:30 p.m. in New York, while at the same time the S&P 500 was 0.29 percent lower to 1,073.04 but the Nasdaq Composite was 0.07 percent higher to 2,140.71.

The Dow was hurt by a disappointing quarterly report from Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), which said that sales were down for the pharmaceuticals group in the third quarter.

Crude oil prices were higher on a weaker dollar in early afternoon trade in New York, while precious metals were also up but copper prices were lower.

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