Housebuilder Barratt Developments gains over 12 percent

| November 4, 2009
Housebuilder Barratt Developments gains over 12 percent

European equities markets were higher Wednesday as miners saw gains on higher metals prices and most banks were higher.

In London, the FTSE 100 added 1.4 percent to 5,107.89 while the FTSE 250 gained 2.7 percent to 8,992.75.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) led all gainers in London as it added 12.74 percent to lead a sector that was mostly higher, with Persimmon (LSE: PSN) behind only slightly as it was up 10.62 percent on the session.

Miners were higher in London, with Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) doing best in the sector with a gain of 11.07 percent, while gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) turned in the best performance on the 100 as it added 9.19 percent.

Broker upgrades helped the travel and leisure sector as travel agent Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) was up 7.41 percent and air carrier British Airways (LSE: BAY) gained 6.61 percent on separate recommendations to “buy”.

Electronics group Laird (LSE: LRD), which fell 6.3 percent on the 250, was the worst performer in London on the session, while confectioner and soft drink manufacturer Cadbury (LSE: CBRY) dropped 1.2 percent to lead decliners on the 100 after disappointing third-quarter results from Kraft (NYSE: KFT), which recently put in a bid for Cadbury.

Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) dropped 1.19 percent for the only decline in the London banking sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.6 percent to 984.4 while the IBEX added 1.29 percent to 11,387.7, the Dax was 1.7 percent higher to 5,444.23 and the CAC-40 gained 2.4 percent to 3,670.33.

There was only one decliner each on the Dax and the CAC-40.

Asia-Pacific markets were higher on the session, although while the Nikkei 225 added 0.42 percent to 9,844.31 in Tokyo and the Topix index was up 0.08 percent to 881.27, the Mothers market of small and mid caps dropped 0.33 percent to 433.89.

Tokyo investors were hesitant ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s latest decision on interest rates, due later in the day, not because they expect rates to change this month but in anticipation of what the Fed might say that could indicate the direction it is likely to take in the longer term.

There is also a decision on Eurozone interest rates due from the European Central Bank on Thursday.

Chip-related shares were lower in Tokyo on a downgrade of the US sector to “cautions” from Morgan Stanley, which cited inventories that are growing too large, with Advantest (TYO: 6857) down 1.3 percent while Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) dropped 5.1 percent.

Fast Retailing (TYO: 9983), on the other hand, helped the Nikkei as it added 4.4 percent on a jump in sales in October at its Uniqlo clothing chain.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.17 percent to 4,547.6 and the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.19 percent to 4,540.1, while in China the Shanghai Composite was up 0.46 percent to 3,128.54.

The Straits Times Index was 1.03 percent higher to 2,648.65, the Hang Seng added 1.76 percent to 21,614.77, the Kospi was up 1.94 percent to 1,579.93, the Taiex was 1.97 percent higher to 7,467.04 and the Sensex gained 3.29 percent to 15,912.13.

Wall Street saw gains in midday trade while investors waited for the Federal Reserve to make its decision on interest rates.

At just past 12:30 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.22 percent higher to 9,891.16 while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.72 percent to 2,072.12 and the S&P 500 had added 1.03 percent to 1,056.22.

At least some of the gains came on new data from the Institute for Supply Management which showed that while its services index dropped to 50.6 in October, from 50.9 in September, the US services sector remained in expansion for a second consecutive month.

Prices for crude oil and metals were higher in midday trade in New York, with oil once again rising above $80 per barrel during the session.

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