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July 20, 2010    

Aquarius Platinum leads miners higher in London

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by Elaine Frei
Aquarius Platinum leads miners higher in London

European equities markets were mixed Tuesday, with declines for some coming after Hungary conducted a debt sale that got less of a response than had been hoped, and after the US Commerce Department reported that US housing starts were down 5 percent in June from their level in May.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.17 percent to 5,139.46 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.36 percent to 9,691.32.

Most miners were higher as they led gains on both the 100 and the 250 and filled the five top spots on the 100s list of gainers.

Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP) added 12.29 percent to lead the sector, the 250 and all gains in London after the South African government said that mine safety orders they had issued were not meant to halt mining operations.

Over on the 100, meanwhile, gains were led by Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO), which was up 4.25 percent, followed by Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED), with a gain of 3.9 percent while Xstrata (LSE: XTA) added 3.84 percent, BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) was 3.28 percent higher and Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) gained 2.98 percent.

Cable & Wireless Worldwide (LSE: CW), led declines on the 100 and in London as it dropped 17.41 percent after it blamed a full-year earnings warning on spending cuts by the government, while De La Rue (LSE: DLAR), which prints banknotes and secure documents, fell 15.92 percent for the worst performance on the 250.

Pubs operators were higher as Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) added 5.97 percent and Enterprise Inns gained 4.57 percent in the travel and leisure sector.

Most in the energy sector were lower, but Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) was up 4.98 percent for the best performance in the sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.02 percent to 1,006.51 and the IBEX added 1.32 percent to 10,061.3, but the CAC-40 was down 0.53 percent to 3,468.02 and the Dax dropped 0.69 percent to 5.967.49.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher, but in Tokyo the Nikkei 225 fell 1.15 percent to 9,300.46 after resuming trade following a three-day weekend, while the Topix index was down 0.99 percent to 832.26 and the Mothers market dropped 1.59 percent to 386.59.

Technology shares were lower in Tokyo after disappointing results from US companies IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN).

Chipmaker Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) was down 2.9 percent while chip-testing equipment maker Advantest (TYO: 6857) was 1.6 percent lower.

Consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) was down 2.8 percent on the session.

India’s Sensex was also lower, dropping 0.28 percent to 17,878.14.

Elsewhere in the region, the Straits Times Index added 0.11 percent to 2,948.61 while South Korea’s Kopsi was up 0.28 percent to 1,736.77, the Taiex was 0.81 percent higher to 7,712.03 in Taiwan and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.81 percent to 20,264.59.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 added 1.04 percent to 4,403.6 while the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 1.05 percent to 4,418.7.

The Shanghai Composite was up 2.15 percent to 2,528.73 as analysts dialed back economic projections, raising hopes that the government there might hold of on more tightening economic policy further.

New York markets were lower in midday trade on concerns that while corporate earnings are mostly strong in reports from the second quarter, revenues have not grown enough, as well as on the Commerce Department report that new housing starts were down in June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.78 percent to 10,074.89 at midday while the S&P 500 was down 0.56 percent to 1,065.25 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.84 percent lower to 2,179.87.

Prices for crude oil and metals were higher in midday trade in New York.

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