Gem Diamonds leads London markets in light trade

| December 23, 2009
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Markets in Europe were higher Wednesday, ahead of holidays that will see many markets in the region and in the United States closing early tomorrow and staying closed Friday in observance of the Christmas holiday.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.82 percent to 5,372.38 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 0.5 percent to 9,194.39 in very light trade ahead of the holidays.

Miners led both the 100 and the 250 as most constituents in the sector saw gains on higher metals prices, with Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) topping the 100 as it added 3.8 percent, while Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD) added 5.17 percent for the best performance in London, on the 250, and in the sector.

Other miners seeing gains included Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) with a gain of 3.73 percent while Xstrata (LSE: XTA) was up 2.83 percent and Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) added 2.69 percent.

Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) turned in the worst performance on the London session, falling 4.25 percent on the 100, while over on the 250 brewery Greene King (LSE: GNK) dropped 3.31 percent for the biggest decline on that index as it traded ex-dividend.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.08 percent to 1,035.65 while the Dax added 0.2 percent to 5,957.44, the CAC-40 was 0.32 percent higher to 3,910.75 and the IBEX dropped 0.65 percent to 11,967.5.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher Wednesday, as Tokyo markets closed in recognition of the Emperor’s birthday.

The Kospi added 0.35 percent to 1,661.35 in South Korea, while Taiwan’s Taiex was up 0.58 percent to 7,901.5 and the Straits Times Index was 0.63 percent higher to 2,841.56.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.67 percent to 4,756.1 and the S&P/ASX200 was 0.75 percent higher to 4,739.3.

The Shanghai Composite was up 0.76 percent to 3,073.78, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.12 percent to 3,073.78 and in India the Sensex gained 3.23 percent to 17,231.11.

In midday trade in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.02 percent lower to 10,463.19 but the S&P 500 was up 0.12 percent to 1,119.32 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 0.49 percent to 2,263.73.

Precious metals prices were higher in New York trade, while crude oil prices rose on larger-than-expected declines in US inventories last week.

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