Hikma Pharmaceuticals leads sector higher

Hikma Pharmaceuticals leads sector higher

Most European equities markets were higher Tuesday.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.34 percent to 5,513.14 in London, but the FTSE 250 was 0.17 percent lower to 9,555.41.

There were gains in the pharmaceuticals sector, led by Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LSE: HIK) with a gain of 4.17 percent on the 250, on concerns that the results of a US Senate election to fill the seat of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy could put into question the passage of health-care reforms proposed by US President Barack Obama.

The cost of drugs to patients is one of the issues addressed by the reform package.

Among other drug makers, GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) was up 1.94 percent, AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) added 1.69 percent and Shire (LSE: SHP) gained 0.41 percent.

Most banks were hurt by fourth quarter results from US bank Citigroup (NYSE: C) which showed that it lost $7.6 billion in the quarter on loan losses and aid repayments.

While Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) manage to add 2.95 percent, Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) was down 2.58 percent for the worst performance of the day on the 100 and Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) dropped 1.78 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.8 percent to 1,069.04 while the Dax added 0.98 percent to 5,976.48, the CAC-40 was 0.81 percent higher to 4,009.67 and the IBEX gained 1.28 percent to 12,022.6.

Asia-Pacific markets were mostly lower on the session.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.88 percent lower to 10,764.9 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 0.81 percent to 949.76 and the Mothers market dropped 0.76 percent to 422.91.

Japan Airlines (9205) remained unchanged despite heavy trade in its shares ahead of its expected bankruptcy filing later in the day.

The air carrier filed in a Tokyo court under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law, which is much like Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States, and will restructure.

While it will continue service during the restructuring, JAL will cut almost 16,000 jobs, cut routes, use more fuel-efficient planes and reduce pensions for those already retired.

In addition, JAL will be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange as of 20 February.

The air carriera��s president resigned, and will be replaced by the founder of Kyocera Corp. (TYO: 6971), who is also a Buddhist monk.

Elsewhere in the region, the Kospi was 0.09 percent lower to 3,604.28 and the Sensex was 0.88 percent lower to 17,486.06.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries fell 0.94 percent to 4,889.6 and the S&P/ASX200 dropped 1.02 percent to 4,861.2, while Taiwana��s Taiex was down 1.07 percent to 8,249.

Markets that saw gains in the region included the Straits Times Index, which added 0.03 percent to 2,912.92 while the Shanghai Composite was up 0.3 percent to 3,246.87 and the Hang Seng gained 1.02 percent to 21,677.98.

New York markets were higher in early afternoon trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.95 percent to 10,710.92, the S&P 500 had added 1.04 percent to 1,147.81 and the Nasdaq Composited was 1.24 percent higher to 2,316.25.

Crude oil prices were nearly unchanged at around 12:45 p.m. in New York, while metals prices were higher.

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