Melrose Resources leads London energy shares lower

| March 22, 2010 | 0 Comments
Melrose Resources leads London energy shares lower

European equities markets were mixed Monday.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent to 5,644.54 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.28 percent to 9,991.92 on declines in the energy sector, while banks were hurt by a Conservative Party plant to institute a banking tax, and the mining sector was mixed on a decline in metals prices.

Oil and gas explorer Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) was the biggest decliner in the energy sector, falling 4.49 percent on the 250, which counted two other sector constituents, wind turbine gearbox manufacturer Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN) and oil and gas explorer JKX Oil (LSE: JKX), among its top five decliners as they dropped 3.06 percent and 2.85 percent respectively.

Over on the 100, Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) was down 1.98 percent and BG Group (LSE: BG) was 1.83 percent lower, while only Petrofac Ltd (LSE: PFC) gained on the day in the sector as it added 0.08 percent, also on the 100.

The mining sector was mixed as metals prices declined and investors worried about demand.

Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) had the best day in the sector as it added 1.63 percent, while Talvivaara Mining Company (LSE: TALV) dropped the most as it fell 1.39 percent.

Among banks, only Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) saw gains as it added 1.61 percent.

Also in the financial sector, inter-dealer money broker ICAP (LSE: IAP) was the biggest decliner on the 100, dropping 2.58 percent after it predicted operating losses and said it will discontinue its full-service agency cash equities business in Europe and Asia because it could not find a buyer for that part of its business.

The best performer in London on the session was facilities management group Regus (LSE: RGU), which added 15.25 percent after it raised its dividend, while the best performance of the day on the 100 came from specialty engineers Smiths Group (LSE: SMIN), which was up 2.45 percent on the news that it will buy Interconnect Devices.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.13 percent to 1,064.08 and the IBEX dropped 1.17 percent to 10,861.9, but the CAC-40 added 0.07 percent to 3,928 and the Dax gained 0.08 percent to 5,987.5.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower as shares in the mining and energy sectors fell on declines in commodities prices.

The exception to the declines came in China, where the Shanghai Composite added 0.22 percent to 3,074.58.

Taiwan’s Taiex was down 0.78 percent to 7,835.98 while the Kospi was 0.8 percent lower to 1,672.67 in South Korea and in Australia the S&P/ASX200 fell 0.86 percent to 4,830.2 and the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.87 percent to 4,847.5.

The Straits Times Index was 0.91 percent lower to 2,889.18, the Sensex fell 0.95 percent to 17,410.57 and the Hang Seng dropped 2.05 percent to 20,933.25.

Tokyo’s markets were closed in observance of a public holiday.

New York markets were up after the US House of Representatives passed, late on Sunday, a bill meant to give health insurance benefits to around 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured.

The bill, which is likely to be signed this week by US President Barack Obama, is expected to boost business for insurers and the pharmaceuticals sector.

The gains came even though some provisions in the bill will not go into force for years and despite announced plans by attorneys general in several states to file lawsuits challenging the bill, citing constitutional issues.

In early afternoon trade in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.49 percent to 10,795.04, while the S&P 500 had added 0.53 percent to 1,165.99 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.84 percent higher to 2,394.41.

Crude oil prices were slightly higher in afternoon trade in New York after trading lower earlier in the session, while metals were mixed as copper saw gains but gold and silver had declined.

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