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July 27, 2010    

Lloyds Banking Group leads banks, tops gainers on FTSE 100

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by Elaine Frei
Lloyds Banking Group leads banks, gops gainers on FTSE 100

European equities markets were mostly higher Tuesday, led by banks after the Basel Committee on Banking Supervisions softened some of its proposed rules on capital and liquidity, including agreeing to let banks’ minority stakes in other financial institutions count as capital, while it added new borrowing restrictions for lenders to cut the risks they may take.

The FTSE 100 added 0.27 percent to 5,365.67 in London, but the FTSE 250 dropped 0.31 percent to 10,106.43.

Banks took the top three spots on the 100’s list of gainers as Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) added 8.36 percent while Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS) was up 7.89 percent and Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) gained 7.46 percent.

Rounding out the list of top gainers on the 100, insurer Prudential (LSE: PRU) was up 4.74 percent to lead a mixed sector, while miner Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) gained 3.19 percent for the best result in a mostly lower mining sector.

Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) was the worst performer in the mining sector as it fell 4.21 percent.

InterContinental Hotels Group (LSE: IHG) dropped 7.51 percent for the worst performance of the session on the 100 and in the travel and leisure sector, with declines coming after the Barclay brothers sold their 10 percent holding in the group’s Holiday Inn brand.

Over on the 250, directories publisher Yell Group (LSE: YELL) added 12.86 percent for the best performance on the index and in a mixed media sector, while intelligent educational products provider Promethean World (LSE: PRW) dropped 7.94 percent to lead declines there.

In the energy sector, Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) added 2.82 percent after it finalized its purchase of Heritage Oil’s (LSE: HOIL) assets in Uganda and agreed to sell some of its interests to Cnooc (SEHK: 0883) and Total (Euornext: FP), while BP (LSE: BP) dropped 2.9 percent after naming Robert Dudley to replace CEO Tony Hayward when he steps down in October.

Engineering group Tomkins (LSE: TOMK) added 5.37 percent after agreeing to sell itself to a Canadian consortium.

Markets were mixed in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.07 percent to 9,496.85 while the Topix index added 0.03 percent to 846.12 and the Mothers market was up 0.36 percent to 398.12.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) added 2.8 percent after it reported that fiscal first quarter profit rose by 24 percent at its investment-banking unit, while Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) was up 2.4 percent.

Seiko Epson Corp (TYO: 6724) gained 4.4 percent on media reports that it may have had operating profits for the first time in two years in its fiscal first quarter on demand for printers, but printer and camera maker Canon (TYO: 7751) was down 0.4 percent despite a reported 153 percent rise in quarterly profits and printer manufacturer Kyocera (TYO: 6971) dropped 0.7 percent.

Carmaker Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) was down 1.6 percent.

Other decliners in the region included South Korea’s Kospi, which was down 0.04 percent to 1,768.31, while the Taiex and the Shanghai Composite each fell 0.51 percent, to 7,748.01 and 2,575.37 respectively.

Australia’s markets were higher as the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.21 percent to 4,513.9 and the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.25 percent to 4,497.4.

India’s Sensex was 0.32 percent higher to 18,077.61 after the Reserve Bank of India raised two key interest rates, hiking the repurchase rate for the fourth time this year as it added 0.25 percent to 5.75 percent, while it also raised the reverse repurchase rate, the rate at which it borrows money to absorb excess liquidity, by 0.5 percent to 4.5 percent.

The Indian central bank also said that if pressure toward inflation continues, it could raise rates again.

The Straits Times Index was 0.42 percent higher to 2,979.38 in Singapore, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.64 percent to 20,973.39.

New York markets were mostly lower after the Conference Board reported that its index of consumer confidence dropped to 50.4 in July from 54.3 in June.

In midday trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.22 percent to 10,548.21 but the S&P 500 had dropped 0.04 percent to 1,114.52 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.29 percent to 2,289.76.

The decline in consumer confidence also hit prices for crude oil and metals as September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude was down by well over $1 per barrel and gold prices had dropped nearly $24 per troy ounce.

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