BP drops 2.7 percent on spill-related costs

| May 24, 2010
BP drops 2.7 percent on spill-related costs

Equities markets in Europe were mixed Monday, with some gains on advances in the mining sector as demand growth was predicted after speculation that China could defer more tightening of monetary policy on concerns about the European debit crisis, but worries about lingering debt problems held gains down on the session.

The FTSE 100 added 0.13 percent to 5,069.61 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 0.32 percent to 9,477.57.

The energy sector had a hard time of it, however, as BP (LSE: BP) dropped 2.7 percent, leading declines on the 100, after it said it has so far accumulated around $760 million in costs related to the leak at one of its wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition to BP, two other components of the energy sector were also among the top five decliners on the 100, while two others were among the top five losers on the 250 as oil and gas explorer and producer Soco International (LSE: SIA) fell 3.05 percent on the 250 and declined most in the sector, while Afren (LSE: AFR) was down 2.7 percent, Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) was 2.33 percent lower and Royal Dutch Shell’s “B” shares (RDSB) dropped 1.8 percent.

The retail sector was mixed as home furnishings retailer Dunelm Group (LSE: DNLM) added 5.51 percent to lead gains on the 250 and in the sector, while sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD) added 5.04 percent.

Automobile retailer Inchcape (LSE: INCH) turned in the worst performance among retailers as it dropped 3.03 percent, followed by department store operator Debenhams (LSE: DEB), which was down 2.56 percent.

Home builders were higher after Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) added 2.7 percent on an upgrade from “underweight” to “overweight” from JPMorgan Chase, which also reiterated its “overweight” recommendation for Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW), sending TW 3.42 percent higher.

In a related sector, property investor and developer St. Modwen Properties (LSE: SMP) added 5.16 percent to lead a mostly higher real estate sector.

The biggest decliner in London came in the media sector as newspaper and magazine publisher Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) fell 7.43 percent to lead retreats on the 250, while the best performance on the 100 had insurer Prudential (LSE: PRU) up 2.51 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.27 percent to 972.62 and the CAC-40 added 0.01 percent to 3,430.93, but the Dax was down 0.4 percent to 5,805.68 and the IBEX dropped 1.27 percent to 9,287.9.

Spanish banks were lower as Banco Santander (BMAD: SAN) fell 1.2 percent, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BMAD: BBVA) was down 2 percent and Banco Popular Espanola (BMAD: POP) was 2.3 percent lower on the session.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher, but Tokyo markets were mixed as the Nikkei 225 fell 0.27 percent to 8,758.4, while the Topix index added 0.04 percent to 880.01 and the Mothers market gained 0.36 percent to 399.59.

The Nikkei declined after insurers lost ground on worries that recent declines in the sector will make their assets less valuable, while other Asia-Pacific markets made gains on the possibility that debt problems in Europe will mean that China’s government will postpone any further plans to take steps to cool off the Chinese real estate market.

MS & AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc (TYO: 8725) fell 2.3 percent, while NKSJ Holdings Inc (TYO: 8630), dropped 4.2 percent.

Japanese shippers, meanwhile, were higher after Nomura Securities issued upgrades in the sector, as it raised its recommendations for both Kawasaki Kisen KK (TYO: 9107) and Mitsui OSK Lines (TYO: 9104) from “neutral” to “buy” and also raised their target share prices, sending Mitusi up 2.6 percent while Kawasaki added 3.9 percent on the session.

Some exporters were lower as the yen remained strong.

Elsewhere in the region, the Sensex added 0.15 percent to 16,469.55 in India, while South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.3 percent to 1,604.93, the Hang Seng was 0.62 percent higher to 19,667.76, the Straits Times Index gained 0.84 percent to 2,723.87, and the Taiex was up 1.17 percent to 7,322.73.

In Australia, the Sydney ordinaries added 2.01 percent to 4,412.8 and the S&P/ASX200 was up 2.09 percent to 4,395.4 as miners saw gains.

BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP), which one-fifth of its revenues from China in 2009, was 2.8 percent higher, while Rio Tinto (ASX: BHP) was up 3.8 percent.

The Shanghai Composite gained 3.48 percent to 2,673.42 on the hopes for a postponement on more moves to hold back real estate speculation there.

China Vanke Co (SZSE: 000002), listed on the Shenzhen exchange, was up 4.2 percent, while the Hong Kong-listed China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd (SEHK: 688) added 6.1 percent, Gemdale (SSE: 600383) was 6.9 percent higher and Poly Real Estate Group (SSE: 600048) gained 8.9 percent.

New York markets were mixed in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained 0.1 percent lower to 10,182.73 at just before 1 p.m., while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 0.13 percent to 1,089.11 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.64 percent to 2,243.2.

Crude oil prices were mixed as West Texas Intermediate was up slightly but Brent crude had dropped a bit, while metals prices were higher in midday trade.

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