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June 23, 2010    

Hansteen Holdings drops most in London

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by Elaine Frei
Hansteen Holdings drops most in London

European equities markets were lower Wednesday after new data showed that new home sales in the United States was at a record low in May as it dropped 33 percent from April after a tax credit for buyers expired.

The housing data indicated that the market still needs government support, causing concerns about the health of the economic recovery in the US.

The FTSE 100 was down 1.3 percent to 5,178.52 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 1.06 percent to 9,833.16.

Industrial property investor Hansteen Holdings (LSE: HSTN) was the biggest decliner in London as it dropped 6.47 percent on the 250 to lead the real estate sector lower, followed by student housing specialist Unite Group (LSE: UTG), which fell 3.23 percent while Segro (LSE: SGRO) was down 2.81 percent.

Building materials supplier Wolseley (LSE: WOS) dropped 5.06 percent for the worst performance on the 100.

Dana Petroleum (LSE: DNX) led gains on the 250 and in a mostly lower energy sector as it added 6.62 percent.

The media sector was also mostly lower, with the biggest decline coming from directories publisher Yell Group (LSE: YELL) as it dropped 2.41 percent, but publisher Reed Elsevier (LSE: REL) added 1.74 percent to lead gainers on the 100 and price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com (LSE: MONY) led the sector as it gained 2.58 percent.

The two biggest decliners in the food and beverage sector both traded ex-dividend, with Dairy Crest Group (LSE: DCG) falling most in the sector with a decline of 5.87 percent while food processor Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE) was down 4.61 percent.

Retailers were mixed as JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD) added 2.78 percent for the best performance in the sector but video games retailer Game Group (LSE: GMG) dropped 4.51 percent as the worst performer in the sector.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower Wednesday, with declines coming on the heels of data released Tuesday showing that existing home sales were down in the United States in May, which made some investors worry about the health of the US economic recovery even before the data on US new home sales was released.

The Nikkei 225 fell 1.87 percent to 9.923.7 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was down 1.53 percent to 880.84 and the Mothers market dropped 1.1 percent to 410.39.

Exporters were lower on a stronger yen, with Sony (TYO: 6758) down 0.6 percent while Toyota Motor (TYO; 7203) fell 1.7 percent and video games maker Nintendo (TYO: 7974) was 3.6 percent lower.

Shippers were also lower, with Mitsui OSK (TYO: 9104) falling 2.7 percent while Nippon Yusen (TYO: 9101) dropped 3.6 percent.

Other decliners in the region included the Straits Times Index, which was down 0.04 percent to 2,871.05 in Singapore while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.33 percent to 1,725.82, Taiwan’s Taiex was 0.4 percent lower to 7,582.15 and the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.73 percent to 2,569.87.

The Sydney Ordinaries fell 1.57 percent to 4,509.4 in Australia, while the S&P/ASX200 was down 1.58 percent to 4,486.1.

The Sensex added 0.04 percent to 17,755.94 in India, while the Hang Seng was up 0.18 percent to 20,856.61 in Hong Kong.

Real estate groups doing business in China but listed in Hong Kong were lower after new data showed that housing sales in Shanghai were down 32.5 percent in the first five months of the year, compared to the same period in 2009.

Hang Lung Properties Ltd (SEHK: 0101) was down 1.1 percent while China Resources Land Ltd (SEHK: 1109) fell 2.3 percent and China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd (SEHK: 0688) dropped 2.7 percent.

New York markets were down in midday trade, hurt by the new data on home sales and ahead of the new interest rate decision by the Federal Reserve, due later in the day.

At just before 1 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.01 percent lower to 10,292.35 while at the same time the S&P 500 had dropped 0.32 percent to 1,091.8 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.26 percent to 2,255.82.

The price of crude oil was lower after an unexpected rise in US inventories last week and on the disappointing home sales figures, and metals prices were also lower with gold trading at $1,234.20 per troy ounce and copper down by 5 cents per pound.

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