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March 30, 2010    

Gartmore Group down 31 percent on fund manager suspension

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by Elaine Frei
Gartmore Group down 31 percent on fund manager suspension

Most European equities markets were lower Tuesday, but the FTSE Eurofirst 300, which follows the top 300 companies in Europe based on market capitalization, added 0.07 percent to 1,079.99 on the session.

The FSTE100 was down 0.67 percent to 5,672.32 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.23 percent to 10,186.14.

Gartmore Group (LSE: GRT) was by far the biggest loser in London on the session, dropping 31.36 percent on the 250 after it suspended a fund manager suspected of directing trades based on inside information while an internal inquiry is conducted.

The investment management group said, however, however, that the suspension and investigation are not part of a Financial Services Authority investigation that has led to the arrest of several employees at several banks.

Over on the 100, satellite communications group Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) saw the biggest decline, dropping 5.64 percent, while engineering consultancy Amec (LSE: AMEC) had the best day on that index as it added 3.2 percent.

Conference and exhibition organizers ITE Group (LSE: ITE) added 8.47 percent to lead gainers on the 250 and in London generally.

Insurers were mostly lower, but Resolution (LSE: RSL) led gains in the sector, adding 4.26 on the 250, while both Legal & General Group (LSE: LGEN) and Prudential (LSE: PRU) were among the top five gainers on the 100, adding 1.09 percent and 0.84 percent respectively.

Banks were lower on the session, with Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) seeing the biggest decline as it dropped 3.39 percent after being fined by the Office of Fair Trading.

RBS was found to have given confidential information on the prices of loans to rival Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC), which was down 2.41 percent.

Of two employees who were allegedly involved in the information transfer, which took place in 2007 and 2008, the bank said one has left and the other will be suspended pending an internal investigation.

Elsewhere in the region, the Dax was down 0.23 percent to 6,142.45, the CAC-40 fell 0.33 percent to 3,987.41 and the IBEX dropped 0.99 percent to 10,980.7.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on the session, although India’s Sensex dropped 0.68 percent to 17,590.17.

The Nikkei 225 was up 1.01 percent to 11,097.14, it’s best close since October 2008, while the Topix index added 1.39 percent to 979.58 and the Mothers market gained 1.67 percent to 450.97.

Exporters with a large proportion of their sales coming from the United States were higher on a report showing that US consumer spending went up in February. Copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) was up 2.5 percent, while electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) added 2 percent.

Konica Minolta Holdings (TYO: 4902) was up 3.5 percent after Mitsubishi UFJ upgraded the imaging group from “market perform” to “outperform”.

Traders were up on gains and oil and metal prices, with Mitsubishi Corp (TYO: 8058) adding 3.9 percent, while other shares related to metals and mining were also up.

Kobe Steel (TYO: 5406) added 2.6 percent after it raised its full-year outlook, while nonferrous metals smelter Dowa Holdings (TYO: 5714) was 3.1 percent higher on predictions of better than expected pre-tax profits.

Oil companies saw gains across the region, with Japanese oil group Inpex Corp (TYO: 1605) adding 1.3 percent, while Australia-based Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (ASX: WPX) gained 0.5 percent and Chinese group PetroChina Co (SEHK: 857) was up 1.7 percent.

Among other markets in the region, the Straits Timex Index and the Shanghai composite were each up 0.15 percent, to 2,933.39 and 3,128.47 respectively, while the Taiex added 0.19 percent to 7,962.22.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 and the Sydney Ordinaries each added 0.4 percent, to 4,916.8 and 4,926.8 respectively.

South Korea’s Kospi was 0.48 percent higher to 1,700.19 while the Hang Seng gained 0.65 percent to 21,374.79 in Hong Kong.

New York markets had moved very little from Monday’s closing levels at midday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.07 percent to 10,903.03 and the Nasdaq Composite adding 0.03 percent to 2,404.97 after the Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index was at 52.5 in March, higher than February’s reading of 46.4 and above the expected level of 50 for the month.

On the other hand, the S&P 500 was down 0.01 percent to 1,173.15.

Crude oil prices were up slightly in midday trade in New York, while at the same time the price of copper was up but gold and silver had both declined.

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