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September 15, 2010    

Next is best perfomer in retail sector, leads 100 higher

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by Elaine Frei
Next is best performer in retail sector, leads 100 higher

European equities markets were lower Wednesday after unemployment claims in the UK unexpectedly rose in August for the first time in seven months, according to the Office of National Statistics, and on a report from the US that manufacturing activity expanded more slowly than had been anticipated in the New York region.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.21 percent to 5,555.56 in London, but the FTSE 250 added 0.21 percent to 10,494.27.

Retailers took the top three spots on the gainers list on the 100, led by clothing retailer Next (LSE: NXT), which added 6.72 percent after reporting that its first-half pretax profits were up 15 percent and on its prediction that full-year earnings per share will be up by 13 percent to 18 percent.

Following Next, Marks & Spencer Group (LSE: MKS) added 3.41 percent while DIY retailer Kingfisher (LSE: KGF) was 3.4 percent higher, but video games retailer Game Group (LSE: GMG) was the worst performer of six decliners in the retail sector as it dropped 2.92 percent.

Miners were mixed as copper prices declined, with African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG) falling 3.39 percent to lead declines on the 100, while gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) added 4.76 percent for the best performance in the sector.

Joining African Barrick Gold among the top five decliners on the 100, Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) was down 2.09 percent and Lonmin (LSE: LMI) dropped 1.82 percent.

BP (LSE: BP) was down 2.67 percent on reports that a report filed three month before one of its wells in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and burned, causing an oil leak that was not capped for months, found that the oil explorer and producer did not meet emergency rules for North Sea oil operations by not training its offshore personnel how to react to oil spills.

Paragon Group of Companies (LSE: PAG), which provides personal loans and mortgages, was the best performer on the 250 as it added 8.48 percent, while educational products group Promethean World (LSE: PRW) dropped 6.71 percent for the worst result of the day on that index.

Drax Group (LSE; DRX) was 3.79 percent lower on downgrades from JPMorgan Chase, which cut the electric power generator from “neutral” to “underweight”, and from Goldman Sachs, which cut its recommendation from “buy” to “neutral”,

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.23 percent to 1,085.27 while the Dax fell 0.22 percent to 6,261.87, the CAC-40 was 0.5 percent lower to 3,755.64 and the IBEX dropped 0.51 percent to 10,751.8.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher, but the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.34 percent to 2,652.5 as banks and the property sector declined.

The Nikkei 225 was up 2.34 percent to 9,516.56 in Tokyo after the government acted to weaken the yen by selling the currency and buying US dollars and said that more moves to intervene in the currency were likely to follow.

The unilateral action by the Japanese government was criticized by some European Union officials, who said a coordinated action with other nations had more of a chance of having a lasting effect, but some analysts doubted that such cooperation would be forthcoming.

In addition to the gains for the Nikkei, the Topix index added 1.65 percent to 848.64 and the Mothers market gained 0.4 percent to 377.78.

Carmakers were higher as Nissan Motors (TYO: 7201) added 3.7 percent, Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) was up 3.8 percent and Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) gained 4 percent.

Consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO; 6758) was up 4.1 percent.

Camera makers also saw shares advance, with Canon (TYO: 7751) up 1.9 percent while Olympus (TYO: 7733) added 3.7 percent and Nikon (TYO: 7731) gained 4.5 percent.

Elsewhere in the region the Hang Seng added 0.14 percent to 21,725.64 in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s Taiex was up 0.38 percent to 8,163.82 and the Kospi was 0.48 percent higher to 1,823.88.

In Australia the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.72 percent to 4,704.7 and the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.76 percent to 4,661.5.

The Straits Times Index added 0.73 percent to 3,071.03 in Singapore, while India’s Sensex was 0.8 percent higher to 19,502.11.

New York markets were higher in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.23 percent to 10,550.63 while the S&P 500 was up 0.08 percent to 1,121.95 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.31 percent higher to 2,296.76.

Crude oil prices were down as December contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude traded $1.25 below Tuesday’s close.

Metals prices were mixed as gold and copper retreated but the price of silver was higher shortly before 1 p.m. in New York.

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