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April 1, 2010    

Petrofac Ltd leads gains on 100

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by Elaine Frei
Petrofac Ltd leads gains on 100

Equities markets in Europe moved higher Thursday as new data revealed that manufacturing in Europe, the United States and China all expanded in March.

The FTSE 100 added 1.15 percent to 5,744.89 in London, while the FTSE 250 was 1.42 percent higher to 10,309.52.

The energy sector was highlighted as oil construction and engineering group Petrofac Ltd added 6.99 percent to lead gains on the 100, while oil and gas construction and engineering business Lamprell (LSE: LAM) gained 5.21 percent on the 250.

Still in the energy sector, Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) added 3.96 percent, while the only decliner in the sector was Salamander Energy (LSE: SMDR) with a drop of 0.19 percent.

Investment managers Gartmore Group (LSE: GRT) was once again the biggest gainer on the 250 and in London, adding 12.8 percent as it attempts to make back the 30 percent decline it suffered in Tuesday trade.

Most in the telecommunications sector were higher, led by Talk Talk Telecom Group (LSE: TALK) with a gain of 6.98 percent and COLT Telecom Group (LSE: COLT), which added 5.11 percent, both on the 250.

The only decliner among telecoms was Vodafone (LSE: VOD), which dropped 0.2 percent on the possibility that it could be forced to cut its mobile phone fees.

The biggest decline in London on the session came from manufacturing and engineering holding company Senior (LSE: SNR), which dropped 4.8 percent to lead losses on the 250, while medical devices manufacturer Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN) fell 0.69 percent to lead declines on the 100.

The pharmaceuticals sector was mixed as GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) dropped 0.67 percent and Shire (LSE: SHP) fell 0.41 percent, but biotechnology group Genus (LSE: GNS), which specializes in animal genetics, added 1.61 percent to lead the sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.2 percent to 1,091.54 while the Dax added 1.33 percent to 6,235.56, the CAC-40 was 1.52 percent higher to 4,034.23 and the IBEX gained 1.81 percent to 11,067.9.

There was only one decliner on the CAC-40 as pharmaceuticals group Sanofi-Aventis (Euronext: SAN) dropped 0.05 percent, while only three companies lost share value on the Dax, led by truck manufacturer Man (FWB: EDF1) with a decline of 0.77 percent.

Asia-Pacific markets were higher on the session.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 started out Japan’s new fiscal year by adding 1.39 percent to 11,244.4 while the Topix index was up 0.66 percent to 985.26 and the Mothers market gained 1.04 percent to 455.17.

Gains came after the quarterly Tankan Survey from the Bank of Japan showed that business confidence there grew for the fourth consecutive quarter, although there were still more pessimistic than optimistic sentiment as the index remained in negative territory, registering at -14 from -25 in December.

Dai-ichi Life (TYO: 8750) added 14 percent above its initial offering price on its first day of trade.

Trade in the insurer’s shares was stopped after the initial price was settled, with regular trade scheduled to begin Friday, but ¥150.7 billion ($1.6 billion) in shares changed hands before trade was halted for the day.

Traders were higher on gains in commodities prices, with Mitsubishi Corp (TYO: 8058) adding 1.5 percent while Mitsui & Co (TYO: 8031) gained 1.8 percent.

Rising oil prices helped explorer Inpex (TYO; 1605), which was 2.8 percent higher on the session.

Australian markets were higher as the S&P/ASX200 added 0.66 percent to 4,907.7 and the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.67 percent to 4,925.9.

The Sensex was up 0.94 percent to 17,692.62 in India while the Taiex added 1.17 percent to 8,013.09 in Taiwan, the Shanghai Composite was 1.23 percent higher to 3,147.42, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.4 percent to 21,537, the Kospi was up 1.55 percent to 1,719.17 in South Korea, and the Straits Times Index added 1.92 percent to 2,943.02 in Singapore.

The good news on manufacturing and rising commodities prices also sent New York markets higher, where in midday trade the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.63 percent to 10,925.48 while the S&P 500 had added 0.72 percent to 1,177.84 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.34 percent higher to 2,406 percent.

Crude oil prices were higher, with West Texas Intermediate crude trading near $85 per barrel at midday while prices for Brent crude neared $84 per barrel.

Metals prices were higher in New York as well.

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