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August 17, 2010    

Miner Lonmin leads FTSE 100 higher

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by Elaine Frei
Miner Lonmin leads FTSE 100 higher

European equities markets saw gains Tuesday as metals price rose and on less pessimism about economic recovery.

The FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 each added 1.41 percent on the session, to 5,350.55 and 9,911.85 respectively.

Miners took three of the top five spots on the 100’s gainers list, led by Lonmin (LSE: LMI) with a gain of 5.96 percent, while Xstrata (LSE: XTA) was up 4.49 percent and Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) added 4.39 percent, while the best performer in the sector came from 250-listed gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG), which was up 7.06 percent.

Not all miners were higher, however, as BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) fell 2.37 percent to lead declines on the 100 after its bid for Canadian fertilizer components producer Potash Corp (TSX: POT) was rejected as “grossly inadequate”, while Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD) was the worst performer in the sector with a decline of 3.45 percent.

Insurer Aviva (LSE: AV) added 5.11 percent after a major stockholder said the company should consider new offers that are higher than the recently rejected offer from RSA Insurance Group (LSE: RSA).

The energy sector was mostly higher, led by oil explorer and producer EnQuest (LSE: ENQ), which was up 6.52 percent, but there were three decliners in the sector, led by Premier Oil (LSE: PMO) with a decline of 3 percent, while Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) fell 1.46 percent and BP (LSE: BP) dropped 0.45 percent.

The biggest gainer on the 250 was household and personal care products manufacturer McBride (LSE: MCB), which added 7.88 percent, while the worst performer on the index was facilities manager Connaught (LSE: CNT) with a decline of 7.12 percent.

British Airways (LSE: BAY) added 2.31 percent after a strike at Heathrow and five other UK airports was averted.

Supermarket chain Morrisons (LSE: MRW) was up 2.62 percent on a broker upgrade from “neutral” to “buy.”

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 1.02 percent to 1,056.09 while the IBEX was up 1.08 percent to 10,369.50, the Dax was 1.57 percent higher to 6,206.4 and the CAC-40 gained 1.82 percent to 3,663.13.

There were only two decliners on the Dax and none on the CAC-40.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed.

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.38 percent to 9,161.68 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 0.22 percent to 826.78 and the Mothers market dropped 0.51 percent to 368.14.

The lowest close in 8 months for the Nikkei came after the prime minister there asked his ministers to come up with ideas to stimulate the economy, which lost it’s place as the world’s second-largest economy to China in the second quarter of the year.

A stronger yen hurt exporters, sending Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) down 0.7 percent while video games maker Nintendo (TYO: 7974) dropped 0.8 percent, electronics components manufacturer TDK Corp (TYO: 6762) was 1.3 percent lower and camera maker Olympus (TYO: 7733) fell 2 percent.

Oil company Inpex (TYO: 1605) fell 4.4 percent on recent declines in oil prices.

Other decliners in the region included India’s Sensex, which was down 0.01 percent to 18,048.85, while the Taiex fell 1.3 percent to 7,931.09 in Taiwan and the Straits Times Index dropped 0.35 percent to 2,923.36 in Singapore.

The Hang Seng added 0.12 percent to 21,137.43 in Hong Kong, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.38 percent to 2,671.89 and South Korea’s Kospi was 0.67 percent higher to 1,755.03.

In Australia, meanwhile, the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.85 percent to 4,503.2 while the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.87 percent to 4,477 ahead of elections and after banks saw gains after a statement from the Reserve Bank of Australia which led investor s to believe that interest rates will remain on hold there for the time being.

New York markets were higher in midday trade after new data showed that US industrial production was up 1 percent in July, more than the 0.6 percent expansion that had been expected, but housing starts added 1.7 percent in the same month, not as much of a gain as had been anticipated.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.4 percent higher to 10,446.04 while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were each 1.56 percent, to 1,096.2 percent and 2,216 percent respectively.

Crude oil and metals prices were up on a weaker dollar and the good news on US factory output.

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