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Monday 07th of December 2009
December 3, 2009    

Royal Bank of Scotland leads London banks higher

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by Elaine Frei
Royal Bank of Scotland leads London banks higher

European equities markets were mixed in Thursday’s session as commodities-related shares fell but banks were generally higher after Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) said it will repay $45 billion in bailout money it received from the US government and the European Central Bank left interest rates steady.

London’s indexes were mixed as the FTSE 250 fell 0.27 percent to 5,313 but the FTSE 250 added 0.27 percent to 9,194.01.

Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) led the 100 as it added 4.69 percent, followed by Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY), which was up 4.43 percent, and Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) with a gain of 2.35 percent.

Miners, however, were lower as Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP) turned in the worst performance in the sector as it dropped 4.15 percent on the 250, while over on the 100, miners made up four of the top five decliners, led there by Xstrata (LSE: XTA), which fell 3.83 percent, followed by Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) with a drip of 3.3 percent while Lonmin (LSE: LMI) was down 2.83 percent and Anglo American (LSE: AAL) dropped 2.61 percent.

The energy sector was mixed as oil rig builder and refurbisher Lamprell (LSE: LAM) led the few gainers in the sector as it added 4.83 percent, but oil and gas explorers declined as Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) fell 5.94 percent on the 250 and Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) dropped 3.01 percent on the 100.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.14 percent to 1,014.35 and the Dax fell 0.2 percent to 5,770.35, but the CAC-40 was up 0.08 percent to 3,799.11 and the IBEX gained 0.31 percent to 11,905.3.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on the session, but the Shanghai Composite fell 0.16 percent to 3,264.63.

The Nikkei closet at its highest level in five weeks, adding 3.84 percent to 9,977.67 in heavy trade, while the Topix index was up 3.41 percent to 888.04 and the Mothers market gained 1.46 percent to 404.3.

Exporters were higher as the yen weakened, while the automobile manufacturing sector was also helped by a report that Mitsubishi Motors (TYO: 7211) is in discussions with Peugeot Citroen (Euronext: UG) to extend their partnership.

Mitsubishi Motors added 13.5 percent on the news, while Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) was up 5.6 percent and Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) gained 4.2 percent.

India’s Sensex and Taiwan’s Taiex each added 0.09 percent on the session, to 17,185.68 and 7,684.67 respectively, while in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries and the S&P/ASX200 each were up 0.26 percent to 4,789.3 for the Ordinaries and to 4,774.6 for the 200.

The Straits Times Index was up 0.42 percent to 2,808.18 while the Hang Seng added 1.19 percent to 22,553.87 and the Kospi gained 1.47 percent to 1,615.

New York markets were higher as the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 0.04 percent to 10,456.54 by just before 1 p.m. local time, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.32 percent to 2,192.11 and the S&P 500 was 0.05 percent higher to 1,109.83.

Gains were small as the Institute for Supply Management reported that its services index was down to 48.7 in November, showing that the sector contracted and putting into question just how quickly the US economy is recovering.

The Nasdaq fared a little bette than the Dow and the S&P on the news that Comcast (NAS: CMCSA) has made a deal with General Electric (NYSE: GE) to purchase a majority stake in NBC Universal.

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