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Tuesday 12th of January 2010
January 7, 2010    

Melrose Resources leads London markets

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by Elaine Frei
Melrose Resources leads London markets

London’s equities markets were mixed Thursday as the FTSE 100 fell 0.06 percent to 5,526.72 but the FTSE 250 added 0.43 percent to 9,630.38, as the Bank of England left interest rates on hold for another month.

Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) was the biggest gainer on the 250 and led all London stocks as it added 7.2 percent on the session, while Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) was among the five biggest gainers on the 100 with a gain of 2.51 percent.

Banks were mixed, with Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) up 4.29 percent to lead gains on the 100 and in the sector, while Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) fell 2.21 percent for the worst performance among London banks.

The insurance sector was also mixed, with more losers than winners as Prudential (LSE: PRU) fell 2.63 percent as the biggest decliner on the 100, while Standard Life (LSE: SLET) was down 2.55 percent.

Homebuilders saw gains after home prices in the UK were reported to have added 1 percent in December on low interest rates.

Persimmon (LSE: PSN) led gains in the sector, adding 6.61 percent after it said it sold 8,976 new homes in 2009, while Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) each gained 4.85 percent on the session.

Supermarkets were also higher as J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY) added 3.21 percent on same-store sales, excluding fuel and VAT, gained 4.2 percent, while Wm Morrison (LSE: MRW) was up 2.1 percent.

The rest of Europe was mostly lower as the FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.01 percent to 1,060.87 while the Dax fell 0.25 percent to 6,019.36 and the IBEX dropped 0.46 percent to 12,166.3 but the CAC-40 added 0.18 percent to 4,024.8 in Paris.

Asia-Pacific markets were lower after the People’s Bank of China raised interest rates on three-month bills for the first time in 5 months in an attempt to slow excessive lending early in the year.

The Topix index added 0.08 percent to 931.85 in Tokyo, but the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.46 percent to 10,681.66 and the Mothers market fell 0.5 percent to 402.63 in active trade.

Miners helped stem losses as Sumitomo Metal Mining (TYO: 5713) and smelter Dowa Holdings (TYO: 5714) each added 1.5 percent on the session.

Japan Airlines (TYO: 9205) dropped 9. 5 percent after a media outlet said the airline could report a net loss of up to $13.3 billion, ascribed to restructuring costs.

Australian markets were lower as the Sydney Ordinaries fell 0.33 percent to 4,930.5 and the S&P/ASX200 dropped 0.45 percent to 4,899.4.

Elsewhere in the region, India’s Sensex was down 0.48 percent to 17,615.72 while the Straits Times Index was 0.59 percent lower to 2,913.25, the Hang Seng fell 0.66 percent to 22,269.45 in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s Taiex was down 1.089 percent to 8,237.42, the Kospi was 1.28 percent lower to 1,683.45 in South Korea and the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.89 percent to 3,192.78 on the move by China’s central bank to hike rates.

In midday trade on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.11 percent to 10,585.24 and the S&P 500 had added 0.19 percent to 1,139.3, but the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 0.29 percent to 2,294.44.

Oil prices were lower in New York around midday, but metals prices were mixed with gold and copper lower while silver had gained.

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