Sports Direct International leads London markets higher
European equities markets were mixed Thursday as London markets saw gains but major markets on the continent were lower on the session.
The FTSE 100 added 0.57 percent to 5,161.48 in London, while the FTSE 250 was 0.7 percent higher to 9,127.85.
Sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD) added 7.94 percent on the 250 for the best performance in London, leading a mostly higher retail sector, while over on the 100 aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce Group (LSE: RR) had the best day on the 100, gaining 6.49 percent after it said its full-year profits were up 4 percent and it expects to do at least as well this year.
The biggest loser in London was in the telecommunications sector, as BT Group (LSE: BT) dropped 8.75 percent on the 100, while financial services price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com (LSE: MONY) fell 3.04 percent to lead decliners on the 250.
Banks were lower in London amid continuing uncertainty over exactly what the European Union might do to help Greece overcome its debt problems as the EU issued a statement saying it would help but provided no details.
Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) was the worst performer in the sector as it dropped 3.71 percent on the session, followed by Barclays Bank, which was down 3.42 percent.
Most home builders were lower, led by Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) with a decline of 2.33 percent, while Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) fell 2.2 percent but Redrow (LSE: RDW) added 5.05 percent for the best day in the sector.
Almost all miners saw gains, led by iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO), which was up 6.32 percent on the 250, while the only decliner in the sector was Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD), which dropped 0.44 percent.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.37 percent to 990.75, but the CAC-40 fell 0.52 percent to 3,616.75, the Dax was down 0.59 percent to 5,503.93 and the IBEX dropped 1.66 percent to 10, 281.7.
With markets closed in Tokyo and Taiwan for public holidays, other markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on the session.
The Shanghai Composite was up 0.1 percent to 2,985.5 after a report that inflation in China grew less than anticipated, with consumer prices rising only 1.5 percent in January.
The Straits Times Index added 0.7 percent to 2,753.63 in Singapore, while in Australia the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.91 percent to 4,554.3 and the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.94 percent to 4,575.8 on the news that the Australian economy added 52,700 new jobs in January from December and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 percent.
India’s Sensex was up 1.45 percent to 16,152.59, the Kospi was 1.76 percent higher to 1,597.81 in South Korea and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.85 percent to 20,290.69.
The last of details regarding the European Union’s plan to help Greece out of its debt problems did not hurt US markets, which were buoyed by a Labor Department report showing that first-time unemployment claims in the US were down by 43,000 to 440,000 last week.
At nearly 1 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.85 percent higher to 10,123.25 while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 0.69 percent to 1,075.49 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.15 percent to 2,172.54.
Crude oil and metals prices were higher in midday trade in New York.