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Wednesday 14th of April 2010
April 12, 2010    

Home Retail leads 100 on bid rumors

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by Elaine Frei
Home Retail leads 100 on bid rumors

European equities markets were mixed, with most seeing little movement at all, after the Eurozone offered loans worth up to €30 billion to Greece at a discounted rate.

London’s markets were slightly higher as the FTSE 100 added 0.12 percent to 5,777.65 and the FTSE 250 gained 0.18 percent to 10,481.77 on advances in the retail sector.

Home Retail (LSE: HOME) led gains on the 100, adding 4.92 percent on rumors that supermarket chain Asda, a subsidiary of US discount retailer Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) could bit for the company, although the involved parties refused comment on the reports.

Other gainers in the sector included grocery retailer Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY), which was upgraded from “underperform” to “buy” by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, while Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS) added 1.51 percent after a Seymour Price-issued upgrade from “hold” to “buy”.

Over on the 250, home shopping retailer N Brown Group (LSE: BWNG) added 3.16 percent but Mothercare (LSE: MTC), retailer to children and expectant mothers, dropped 1.36 percent for the worst performance in the sector.

Directories publisher Yell Group (LSE: YELL) was the best performer in London as it added 6.19 percent on the 250, while the worst performance of the session came over on the 100, where microchip designer ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM) dropped 3.77 percent as it was downgraded from “hold” to “sell” by Citigroup.

The mining sector was lower, led by iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) which fell 3.03 percent for the worst performance on the 250.

Only two miners, Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) and Lonmin (LSE: LMI) did not decline, but only managed to hold steady on the session.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 and the CAC-40 were each fractionally lower, to 1,101,73 and 4,050.5 respectively, while the Dax added 0.02 percent to 6,250.69 and the IBEX was 0.58 percent higher to 11,460.8.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed Monday.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.42 percent to 11,251.9 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was 0.54 percent higher and the Mothers market gained 1.07 percent to 479.93.

Traders were up on gains in metals prices as Mitsubishi Corp (TYO: 8058) added 1.6 percent, while Mitsui & Co (TYO: 8031) was up 2.4 percent and Itochu Corp (TYO: 8001) gained 4.4 percent.

On-line brokers were hurt by downgrades in the sector from Credit Suisse, which reduced Kabu.com Securities (TYO: 8703) from “outperform” to “neutral” and cut Matsui Securities (TYO: 8628) from “neutral” to “underperform” and cut its target share price on both companies.

Matsui was down 1.5 percent while Kabu.com dropped 3.8 percent.

Other gainers in the region included the Straits Times Index, which added 0.17 percent to 2,977.17 while The Taiex was up 0.32 percent to 8,117.75.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 was 0.73 percent higher to 4,984.3 while the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.78 percent to 5,011.6.

The Shanghai Composite fell 0.51 percent to 3,129.26 percent as China’s real estate sector dropped on continuing concerns that measures to cool of the nation’s economy will further reduce the amount of money available for mortgages as some banks have already raised the required down payment on second mortgages to 60 percent of the property’s value.

Also hurting the sector was data showing that property prices were up at their quickest pace in two years in February, while new figures also showed that apartment sales dropped 27 percent in March from March 2009 and were down 40 percent in the first quarter.

Lending by Chinese banks overall fell by 43 percent in the first quarter from the same period last year.

Other declines came in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng was down 0.32 percent to 22,138.17 while the Sensex fell 0.45 percent to 17,853 in India and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.82 percent to 1,710.3.

New York markets were up in midday trade after the announcement of the Eurozone’s bailout offer to Greece and ahead of first quarter earnings reports, with aluminium producer Alcoa (NYSE: AA) scheduled to release its results after the markets close.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.16 percent to 11,015.19 at just past 12.30 p.m. in New York, while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 0.22 percent to 1,197 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.15 percent higher to 2,457.83.

Commodities prices were mixed as West Texas Intermediate crude had dropped slightly but prices for Brent crude were higher, while among metals, copper was lower but gold and silver had both seen gains.

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