Go-Ahead Group leads travel, leisure sector higher in London
European equities markets were mixed Thursday after the European Central Bank held Eurozone interest rates at 1 percent and issued a higher growth outlook for the region, while Sweden’s central bank hiked rates there to 0.75 percent from 0.5 percent, the second consecutive increase from Riksbank.
Better economic news from the US helped gains in some markets as the US Labor Department reported that first-time unemployment claims in the US fell 6,000 last week to 472,000, while the National Association of Realtors said that pending home sales rose 5.2 percent in July.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.09 percent to 5,371.04 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 0.8 percent to 10,140.97.
The travel and leisure was mostly higher, led by a gain of 7.08 percent for public transport company Go-Ahead Group (LSE: GOG), while restaurants and pubs operator Restaurant Group (LSE: RTN) added 6.17 percent, hotels and restaurants operator Whitbread (LSE: WTB) was 3.7 percent higher and cruise ships operator Carnival (LSE: CCL) gained 3.01 percent.
There were only two decliners in the sector, as brewer and pubs operator Marston’s (LSE: MARS) was up 0.78 percent and caterer Compass Group (LSE: CPG) gained 1.2 percent.
The best performer on the 100 was Man Group (LSE: EMG), which added 5.77 percent after Numis raised its recommendation on the investment manager from “reduce“ to “buy, while the best performance on the 250 and in London came from Yell Group (LSE: YELL) on rumors that the directories publisher could be for sale.
Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) dropped 4.13 percent for the biggest decline on the 100 and in London and the worst performance in the energy sector, while wind turbine gearbox manufacturer Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN) had the best day in the sector, gaining 4.12 percent.
COLT Group (LSE: COLT) was the biggest loser on the 250, falling 3.53 percent, while Cable & Wireless Worldwide (LSE: CW) was 2.99 percent lower.
Autonomy Group (LSE: AU) added 5.21 percent on rumors that the software manufacturer could be the focus of a bidding war between Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) and Oracle (NAS: ORCL), while aerospace and defense contractor BAE Systems (LSE: BA) gained 3.74 percent after it won a contract worth $629 million to update its Caiman MRAP armored vehicles.
Miners were mixed on the session, with Talvivaara Mining Company (LSE: TALV) up 4.28 percent for the best performance in the sector while Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD) had the worst day in the sector, falling 2.99 percent.
Some miners dropped on analyst downgrades from Citigroup, which cut both Lonmin (LSE: LMI) and African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG) from “buy” to “hold” and downgraded Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) from “hold” to “sell”.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.06 percent to 1,055.04 while the Dax fell just 0.05 of a point to 6,083.85 and the IBEX was down 0.07 percent to 10,537.6 but the CAC-40 was up 0.21 percent to 3,631.43.
Markets in the Asia-Pacific region saw gains on new investor confidence after US manufacturing activity grew more than expected in August, and after yesterday’s big advances on Wall Street.
The Nikkei 225 was up 1.52 percent to 9,062.84 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 0.99 percent to 819.42, but the Mothers market dropped 1.09 percent to 364.05.
Camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) added 1.2 percent while consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) was up 2.2 percent.
Among carmakers, Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was 1.9 percent higher while Nissan Motors (TYO: 7201) gained 3 percent.
Japan Petroleum Exploration (TYO: 1662) was up 1.1 percent and Inpex Corp (TYO: 1605) added 3 percent on gains in oil prices yesterday.
Elsewhere in the region, the Straits Times Index was 0.13 percent higher to 2,986.66 in Singapore while India’s Sensex added 0.18 percent to 18,238.31, the Kospi was up 0.63 percent to 1,775.73 in South Korea and Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.69 percent to 7,720.82.
The Sydney Ordinaries added 0.8 percent to 4,563 in Australia, while the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.82 percent to 4,532.7.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.19 percent higher to 20,868.92 while the Shanghai Composite added 1.25j percent to 2,655.78 on gains for China’s carmakers after car sales there were reported to have gone up by 55.7 percent in August over last year’s sales.
Wall Street was mixed in early afternoon trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.38 of a point to 10,269.09 but the S&P 500 had added 0.32 percent to 1,083.79 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.45 percent higher to 2,186.69.
Prices for crude oil and metals were higher in afternoon trade in New York.