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Saturday 19th of December 2009
December 17, 2009    

Lloyds leads banks lower on regulation concerns

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by Elaine Frei
Lloyds leads banks lower on regulation concerns

European equities markets declined on the session Thursday, with banks as the biggest losers in London, Paris and Frankfurt.

The FTSE 100 was 1.93 percent lower to 5,217.61 in London, while the FTSE 250 was down 0.92 percent to 9,057.4.

Banks declined in London on investors’ fears that proposed new banking regulations will force banks to keep more profits or raise more capital to cushion against economic bad times.

Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) dropped 8.06 percent in the worst performance in its sector, on the 100 and among all London shares, followed among banks by Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC), which was 6.22 percent lower.

Over on the 250, Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) turned in the weakest results, ending the session 6.47 percent lower.

Commodities-related shares were also lower in London as oil and metals prices declined.

Among miners, Xstrata (LSE: XTA) was the biggest loser, falling 5.24 percent in a sector which saw only two gainers as nickel miner Talvivaara (LSE: TALV) added 1.32 percent and iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) gained 1.12 percent.

There was only one advance in the energy sector, where oil and gas explorer Salamander Energy (LSE: SMDR) was up 0.84 percent, while the biggest decliner was oil well builder and supplier Hunting (LSE: HTG), which dropped 4.23 percent on the session.

Retailers were mostly lower in London on new data showing that UK retail sales were lower in November.

Home Retail Group (LSE: HOME) was the biggest loser in the sector, falling 4.16 percent, while there were only four gainers, led by sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD), which added 1.53 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 1.12 percent to 1,019.66 while the Dax fell 1 percent to 5,844.44, the CAC-40 was 1.16 percent lower to 3,830.82 and the IBEX dropped 1.4 percnet to 11,696.9.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower on the session, but in Australia the S&P/ASX200 added 0.18 percent to 4,670.3 and the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.29 percent to 4,689.6.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was 0.13 percent lower to 10,163.8 while the Topix index fell 0.22 percent to 896.28 and the Mothers market was down 1.77 percent to 399.56 as banks declined on profit-taking.

The Straits Times Index fell 0.02 percent to 2,813.27, the Sensex dropped 0.11 percent to 16,894.25, the Taiex was down 0.12 percent to 7,742.17 and the Kospi was 0.99 percent lower to 1,647.84.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 1.22 percent to 21,347.63, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 2.34 percent to 3,179.08.

Hong Kong’s markets fell on a statement from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority predicting a correction in assets prices.

At nearly 1 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.18 percent lower to 10,317.86 while the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 1.28 percent to 2,178.74 and the S&P 500 was down 1.16 percent to 1,096.35.

The declines on Wall Street came as the dollar reached a three-month high versus the euro as investors looked for safe places to put their cash, and on mixed data from new reports.

The Labor Department reported that new unemployment claims were up 7,000 last week to 480,000, outweighing a Conference Board report that showed leading economic indicators up in November and a separate report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve that manufacturing activity was up in its region.

Crude oil and most metals prices lost ground as the dollar strengthened.

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