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January 27, 2010    

Britvic leads London markets

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by Elaine Frei

European equities markets were lower Wednesday in anticipation of a new decision on US interest rates and ahead of US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, which will be delivered before a joint session of Congress Wednesday evening in Washingdon, D.C.

The FTSE 100 was 1.13 percent lower to 5,217.47 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.51 percent to 9,245.25.

Soft drinks maker Britvic (LSE: BVIC) was the biggest gainer in London on the session, adding 6.75 percent to lead the food and beverages sector, followed by brewer SABMiller (LSE: SAB), which was up 1.56 percent.

The best performance on the 100 came from buyouts and restructuring specialists Resolution (LSE: RSL), which added 2.39 percent.

A mixed travel and leisure sector was led by online gambler PartyGaming (LSE: PRTY), which added 5.11 percent while 888 Holdings (LSE: 888), another online gaming group, dropped 5.28 percent for the worst performance of the session in the sector.

All miners were lower except for Lonmin (LSE: LMI) which added 0.38 percent, while gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) was the biggest loser in the sector as it dropped 3.72 percent.

Banks were lower, led by Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS), which dropped 5.2 percent after the second largest bank in Spain said it has seen a rise in bad loans.

Man Group (LSE: EMG) was the biggest loser in London as it fell 6.5 percent after Credit Suisse cut the broker’s target share price.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.91 percent to 1,013.64 while the Dax fell 0.45 percent to 5,643.2, the CAC-40 was 1.24 percent lower to 3,759.8 and the IBEX dropped 2.69 percent to 11,042.2.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were hurt by continuing concerns over monetary policy in China, as well as ahead of the new US interest rate decision and President Obama’s address to Congress.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.71 percent lower to 10,252.08 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 0.95 percent to 907.67 and the Mothers market was down 0.38 percent to 416.76.

Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) was down 4.3 percent after it halted sales of several models of its cars due to a recall.

A stronger yen also hurt exporters as Canon (TYO: 7751), Sony (TYO; 6758) and Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) all fell by 2 percent or more.

The Hang Seng was down 0.38 percent to 20,033.07 in Hong Kong, while Taiwan’s Taiex dropped 0.51 percent to 7,560.03, the Kopsi fell 0.72 percent to 1,625.48 in South Korea, the Shanghai Composite was 1.09 percent lower to 2,986.61 and the Straits Times Index dropped 1.24 percent to 2,706.26.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries fell 1.54 percent to 4,670 and the S&P/ASX200 was down 1.55 percent to 4,644.6 after yesterday’s closure for a holiday, while India’s Sensex dropped 2.92 percent to 16,289.82 after it, too was closed for a holiday observance on Tuesday.

US markets were also lower at midday in New York as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.35 percent to 10,158.47, the S&P 500 had dropped 0.32 percent to 1,088.65 and the Nasdaq Composite had fallen 0.01 percent to 2,203.57.

Additionally, crude oil and metals prices were lower in midday trade in New York.

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