SSL International adds 33 percent on bid from Reckitt Benckiser

| July 21, 2010
SSL International adds 33 percent on bid from Reckitt Benckiser

European equities markets were mostly higher Wednesday on better than expected quarterly results from Apple (NAS: AAPL), Italian carmaker Fiat (BIT: F) and French hotels operator Accor (Euronext: AC), as well as on mergers and acquisitions news.

The FTSE 100 was 1.46 percent higher to 5,214.64 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 1.6 percent to 9,846.3.

The biggest gain in London came from health care products manufacturer SSL International (LSE: SSL), which added 33.45 percent on the 250 on a bid from consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser (LSE: RB).

Meanwhile, BP (LSE: BP) was up 3.21 percent after it made a deal with US oil company Apache Corporation (NYSE: APA), which bought $7 billion worth of BP assets in North America and Egypt.

Miners were higher as Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) added 8.76 percent on the 250 to lead gains in the sector, while Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) was up 6.96 percent for the best performance on the 100, followed by Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO), which added 4.81 percent, and a gain of 4.08 percent for Xstrata (LSE: XTA).

British Airways (LSE: BAY) was the biggest gainer in the travel and leisure sector, adding 5.37 percent, while automobile retailer Inchcape (LSE: INCH) led the retail sector as it gained 7.55 percent.

ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM), which designed the semiconductors in Apple’s iPhone, added 2.5 percent after Apple revealed its quarterly results.

The biggest decline in London came from the telecommunications sector, where Cable & Wireless Worldwide (LSE: CW) dropped 5.36 percent on the 100, while energy efficiency products provider Eaga (LSE: EAGA) dropped 4.15 percent for the worst performance on the 250.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.08 percent to 1,017.48 while the Dax added 0.38 percent to 5,990.38 and the CAC-40 gained 0.75 percent to 3,493.92, but the IBEX dropped 0.2 percent to 10,040.8.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed, but most were higher as investors were optimistic that China might ease monetary policy later in the year after recent data showed that the economy there did not grow as quickly in the second quarter as it did in the first quarter.

Also helping gains was the positive quarterly report from iPhone maker Apple.

Tokyo’s markets were mostly lower as exporters were hurt by a stronger yen, with the Nikkei 225 falling 0.23 percent to 9,278.83 while the Topix index dropped 0.35 percent to 829.35 but the Mothers market added 0.34 percent to 387.91.

Carmakers were lower as Toyota (TYO: 7203) dropped 0.8 percent and Nissan Motor (TYO: 7201) was 1 percent lower.

Industrial robot maker Fanuc fell 0.6 percent and conglomerate Toshiba (TYO: 6502) was down 0.7 percent.

Construction companies also declined after Mizuho Securities began coverage of several builders with a rating of “underperform”.

Kajima Corporation (TYO: 1812) was down 1.46 percent while Taisei Corporation (TYO: 1801) fell 1.67 percent,. Shimizu Corporation (TYO: 1803) was 1.85 percent lower and Obayashi Corporation (TYO: 1802) dropped 2.16 percent.

Other decliners included Taiwan’s Taiex, which was 0.14 percent lower to 7,701.29, and the Straits Times Index with a drop of 0.76 percent to 2,926.09.

Australian markets were higher as the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.23 percent to 4,428.7 and the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.29 percent to 4,412.7.

The Shanghai Composite was up 0.26 percent to 2,535.39, the Kospi added 0.69 percent to 1,748.78, the Sensex was 0.55 percent higher to 17,977.23 and the Hang Seng gained 1.1 percent to 20,487.23.

New York markets were mixed in midday trade, with technology stocks generally lower despite Apple’s positive quarterly report, after Yahoo (NAS: YHOO) turned in results that disappointed and Citigroup downgraded it from “buy” to “hold”.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.18 percent to 10,248.36 at just past 12:30 p.m. in New York, while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 0.08 percent to 1,084.32 but the Nasdaq Composite was 0.04 percent lower to 2,221.56.

Crude oil prices were slightly lower at midday after the US Energy Information Administration reported that crude stockpiles grew unexpectedly last week, while metals prices were higher in New York.

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