Barclays leads European banks higher on profits

| February 16, 2010 | 0 Comments
Barclays leads European banks higher on profits

European equities markets were higher Tuesday as banks and miners saw gains.

The FTSE 100 added 1.48 percent to 5,244.06 in London, while the FTSE 250 gained 1.14 percent to 9.176.27.

Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) led gainers on the 100 as it added 6.8 percent on better than expected full year profits, while Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) was right behind with a gain of 5.25 percent that came after JPMorgan (LSE: JPM) said it will buy the non-US holdings of RBS Sempra, a joint venture between the UK bank and US energy company Sempra Energy (NSYE: SRE).

Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) was also among the five biggest gainers on the 100 as it added 4.7 percent on the session.

Higher metals prices sent miners higher, led by iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO), which was up 11.81 percent to lead gains on the 250 and in London as a whole.

Other miners seeing gains included gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG), up 9.1 percent and Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) with a gain of 6.25 percent, also on the 250, while Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) added 5.2 percent and Randgold Mining (LSE: RRS) was 4.06 percent higher, both on the 100.

The biggest decliner in London was Imagination Technologies (LSE: IMG), which was down 3.79 percent on the 250, while hotels operator InterContinental Hotels Group (LSE: IHG) dropped 2.93 percent to lead declines on the 100.

Trade was light in Tokyo as many markets in the Asia-Pacific region were closed in observance of the Lunar New Year.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.21 percent to 10,034.25 while the Topix index added 0.19 percent to 885.17 but the Mothers market dropped 0.12 percent to 388.6.

Gains came on generally positive quarterly reports and despite continuing concerns over the direction of the economies in Greece and China.

Trader Sumitomo Corp (TYO: 8053) dropped 4.4 percent after it said it wants to increase its ownership in cable TV provider Jupiter Telecom, which is traded over the counter (4817), to 40 percent from its current holdings of 27 percent.

Sumitomo’s bid comes after KDDI (TYO: 9433), which added 0.1 percent on the session, has already bid.

J:Com saw its shares rise by 17 percent on the news.

Consumer finance companies were hurt by Citigroup’s downgrade of the sector as a whole, with Takefuji (TYO: 8564) down 5.6 percent while Acom (TYO: 8572) fell 8.2 percent and Promise (TYO: 8574) dropped 8.6 percent.

All Nippon Airways (TYO: 9202), on the other hand, added 2.1 percent after Citigroup raised their recommendation on the air carrier from “hold” to “buy”.

Elsewhere in the region, Australia’s markets were higher as the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.45 percent to 4,590.8 and the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.49 percent to 4,567.8, while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.46 percent to 1,601.05 and the Sensex gained 1.17 percent to 16,226.68.

Markets in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore were among those closed for the holiday.

New York markets were higher in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 1.16 percent to 10,215.83, while the S&P 500 had added 1.27 percent to 1,089.2 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.98 percent higher to 2,204.91.

Prices for crude oil and metals were also higher at midday in New York.

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