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Wednesday 26th of January 2011
January 25, 2010    

Legal & General leads gains in mixed insurance sector

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by Elaine Frei
Legal & General leads gains in mixed insurances sector

European equities markets were lower to start the week on Monday.

The FTSE 100 was 0.8 percent lower to 5,260.31 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.34 percent to 9,293.12.

Insurers were mixed as Legal & General Group (LSE: LGEN) added 3.68 percent to lead the sector and the 100, followed by a gain of 2.07 percent for RSA Insurance Group (LSE: RSA), but St. James’s Place (LSE: STJ) led losers in the sector as it dropped 2.96 percent on the 250.

Most banks were higher, led by Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) as it added 1.96 percent, but Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) was down 1.27 percent on the session.

Talvivaara Mining Company (LSE: TALV) led all London stocks as it added 7.38 percent on the 250, but most miners were lower, including a decline of 2.3 percent for Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) and a drop of 2.19 percent for Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO), both on the 100.

The biggest decline in London came in the retail sector, where maternity and young children’s retailer Mothercare (LSE: MTC) fell 4.11 percent on the 250, while the biggest drop on the 100 came from broker Man Group (LSE: EMG) with a decline of 2.86 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.52 percent to 1,019.67 while the CAC-40 fell 1.02 percent to 3,781.85, the IBEX was 1.09 percent lower to 11,249.3 and the Dax dropped 1.12 percent to 5,631.37.

The Dax saw only three stocks gain, while there were only 4 winners on the CAC-40.

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

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.74 percent to 10,512.69 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 0.67 percent to 934.59 and the Mothers market dropped 0.4 percent to 424.28.

A stronger yen hurt many exporters, but Canon (TYO: 7751) added 0.3 percent on reports that its operating profits will be better than anticipated on demand for cameras.

Chip-making equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) dropped 0.9 percent after chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) said sales will fall in the first quarter and on results from Google (NAS: GOOG) showing that profits were up more than expected but revenue growth did not meet some expectations.

The Straits Times Index was 0.28 percent lower to 2,811.71 while the Sensex was down 0.47 percent to 16,780.46.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries fell 0.6 percent to 4,743.1 and the S&P/ASX200 dropped 0.69 percent to 4,717.9.

The Hang Seng was down 0.62 percent to 20,598.55 in Hong Kong while Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.69 percent to 7,872.99, the Kospi was 0.84 percent lower to 1,670.2 and the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.09 percent to 3,094.41.

Wall Street moved to gains as it looked more likely that Ben Bernanke will be confirmed for another term as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.62 percent higher to 10,234.57 while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 0.68 percent to 1,099.15 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.32 percent to 2,212.37.

Crude oil prices were slightly higher in New York in midday trade, but West Texas Intermediate crude was still trading under $75 per barrel, while metals prices were also higher in New York.

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