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March 11, 2010    

Hochschild Mining leads sector lower

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by Elaine Frei
Hochschild Mining leads sector lower

European equities markets were lower Thursday after new data from China showed that nation’s inflation hit a sixteen month high in February, causing concerns that China will tighten its monetary policy further.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.41 percent to 5,617.26 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.11 percent to 9,854.44.

Most miners saw declines on the news from China as investors worried that fiscal tightening there could cut demand for metals.

Gold and silver miner Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) fell most in the sector, dropping 3.74 percent on the 250, while Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) led declines on the 100 as it fell 3.17 percent, followed by Fresnillo (LSE: FRES), which fell 2.88 percent while Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) was also among the top five losers on the 100 as it dropped 2.53 percent.

Among miners, only gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) and copper miner Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) saw gains, adding 0.19 percent and 0.88 percent respectively.

Most retailers were higher on the session, led by entertainment retailer HMV Group (LSE: HMV) with a gain of 4.17 percent, but supermarkets had a rough time of it as Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW) led declines in the retail sector as it fell 2.79 percent, while Tesco (LSE: TSCO) was down 0.31 percent and J. Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY), the parent company of Sainsbury’s Supermarkets dropped 0.15 percent.

The travel and leisure sector also saw gains, led by pubs operator Enterprise Inns (LSE: ETI), which added 5.34 percent to also lead the 250 and all London shares, while Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) followed closely with a gain of 5.22 percent and travel agent Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) was 3.2 percent higher.

The only decliners in the travel and leisure sector came from companies concerned with transport as British Airways (LSE: BAY) fell 0.39 percent and public transport specialist National Express Group (LSE: NEX) dropped 1.64 percent.

The biggest gain on the 100 came from gas and oil construction and engineering group Petrofac Ltd (LSE: PFC), which added 3.36 percent, while the biggest decliner on the 250 and in London was IT group Computacenter (LSE: CCC) with a drop of 5.72 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.28 percent to 1,055.82 while the Dax fell 0.14 percent to 5,928.63, the CAC-40 was 0.37 percent lower to 3,928.95 and the IBEX dropped 0.68 percent to 11,045.4.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 added 0.96 percent to 10,664.95 while the Topix index was up 0.86 percent to 930.38 but the Mothers market fell 0.06 percent to 416.82.

Exporters were higher as the yen weakened, with electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) adding 1.9 percent and carmakers Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) and Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) adding 0.4 percent and 0.8 percent respectively.

Shippers in Tokyo and the rest of the region were higher on gains for the Baltic Dry Index, indicating that shipping fees were up.

Other gainers in the region included the Shanghai Composite, which added 0.08 percent to 3,051.28 while the Hang Seng was up 0.09 percent to 21,228.2 and India’s Sensex and Singapore’s Straits Times Index each gained 0.41 percent, to 17,167.96 and 2,873.91 respectively.

Australia’s markets were lower after a report that fewer jobs were added to the economy there in February than had been anticipated, with the Sydney Ordinaries falling 0.09 percent to 4,825.5 while the S&P/ASX200 was 0.12 percent lower to 4,814.2.

South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.34 percent to 1,656.62, while the Taiex dropped 0.38 percent to 7,749.66 in Taiwan.

Wall Street was lower in early afternoon trade in New York as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.06 percent to 10,560.83, the S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent to 1,144.23 and the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 0.09 percent to 2,356.79.

Crude oil prices were slightly lower in early afternoon trade in New York, but metals prices were higher.

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