Cairn Energy leads 100 on new Greenland exploration

Cairn Energy leads 100 on new Greenland exploration

European equities markets were higher Monday as the energy sector saw gains after oil prices rose in the wake of cold winter weather in both Europe and the United States.

The FTSE 100 added 1.87 percent to 5,293.99 in London, while the FTSE 250 was 1.12 percent higher to 9,099.84.

The energy sector led both the 100 and the 250 as oil explorer Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) added 4.66 percent on the 100 after it said it will begin drilling off western Greenland, while over on the 250 oil well builder and supplier Hunting (LSE: HTG) turned in the best performance of the session in London as it gained 7.2 percent.

Insurers were also higher as Prudential (LSE: PRU) led the sector as it added 4.52 percent, followed by Aviva (LSE: AV), which was up 4.06 percent while Old Mutual (LSE: OML) gained 3.77 percent.

Miners were led higher by Xstrata (LSE: XTA), which added 3.39 percent, but a few losers in the sector were led by Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) with a decline of 2.18 percent.

The worst performance in London came from Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB), down 3.62 percent, while there were only four decliners on the 100, led by the London Stock Exchange (LSE: LSE), which dropped 1.6 percent on the session.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.4 percent to 1,027.3 while the IBEX added 1.6 percent to 11,830.8 in Madrid, the Dax was 1.7 percent higher to 5,930.53 in Frankfurt, and the Paris CAC-40 gained 2.05 percent to 3,872.06.

There were only three decliners each on the CAC-40 and the Dax, with two of the three losers on the Frankfurt index coming from the automobile manufacturing sector.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on the session.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 added 0.41 percent to 10,183.47, its highest close in two months, and the Mothers market was up 2.21 percent to 414.61, but the Topix index dropped 0.24 percent to 891.48 on declines by some banks on concerns that they might offer new stock to boost capital to begin preparing to comply with stricter banking regulations which are expected to take effect in 2012.

Mizuho Financial Group (TYO: 8411) was 2.2 percent lower while Shinsei Bank Ltd (TYO: 8303) dropped 2.7 percent, but Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) added 2.4 percent after it raised $11.4 billion earlier in December.

Tech shares were up on a weaker yen and after last week’s quarterly results from US companies Oracle (NAS: ORCL) and Research in Motion (NAS: RIMM) were encouraging.

Consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) added 1.2 percent while chip-testing equipment maker Advantest (TYO: 6857) was up 2.1 percent and Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) gained 2.6 percent.

The Shanghai Composite was also up on the session, adding 0.29 percent to 3,122.97, while Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.43 percent to 7,787.27.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.17 percent to 1,644.23 while in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.27 percent to 4,659.5 and the S&P/ASX200 was down 0.33 percent to 4,635.1.

The Straits Times Index was 0.56 percent lower to 2,786.81, India’s Sensex was down 0.71 percent to 16,601.2, and the Hang Seng dropped 1.08 percent to 20,948.1 in Hong Kong.

Wall Street saw gains at midday as the Dow Jones Industrial Avergae added 1.14 percent to 10,446.49, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.2 percent to 2,238.17 and the S&P 500 had gained 1.25 percent to 1,116.22.

Markets were helped by broker upgrades to aluminium producer Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and semiconductor manufacturer Intel (NAS: INTC).

Morgan Stanley upped its recommendation on Alcoa to “buy”, while Barclays raised its rating on Intel to “overweight”.

Also sending markets higher was approval by the US Senate of a healthcare bill that was absent provisions companies in the sector, including insurers, saw as harmful to their interests.

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