Aquarius Platinum leads London miners lower

| October 12, 2010
Aquarius Platinum leads London miners lower

European equities markets were lower Tuesday as investors waited to see what sort of direction the minutes of the latest meeting of the US Federal Reserve might give as to the Fed’s plans for further steps to aid the US economy.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.19 percent to 5,661.59 in London, while the FTSE 250 was down 0.47 percent to 10,753.56 as the mining sector declined on lower metals prices and after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said that house prices in the UK have declined.

The biggest decline in the mining sector came from Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP), which dropped 3.42 percent, followed by a decline of 2.62 percent from Xstrata (LSE: XTA), and as Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) and Lonmin (LSE: LMI) each fell 1.99 percent.

There were a few gainers in the mining sector, however, led by Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC), which added 1.61 percent.

Most of the constituents of the energy sector retreated, with the biggest decline coming from SOCO International (LSE: SIA), which dropped 18.76 percent for the worst performance on the 250 after the oil and gas explorer said it will cap and abandon an appraisal well it was drilling in the waters off Vietnam.

The best performer in the energy sector was oil rig builder and refurbisher Lamprell (LSE: LAM), which added 3.33 percent, followed by Essar Energy (LSE: ESSR), which added 3.25 percent for the best performance of the day on the 100.

Software and IT services group Micro Focus International (LSE: MCRO) turned in the best performance on the 250, adding 3.99 percent, while the worst result on the 100 came from the telecommunications sector, where BT Group (LSE: BT.A) dropped 2.72 percent.

The travel and leisure sector was mostly lower, with the worst performance there coming from pubs operator Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB), which fell 10.84 percent after it reported a decline in earnings, followed by fellow pubs group Enterprise Inns (LSE: ETI) with a decline of 3.44 percent, while gambler Ladbrokes (LSE: LAD) was 3.19 percent lower.

Caterer Compass Group was the best performer in the travel and leisure sector, adding 1.35 percent.

Banks were mixed, with Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) doing the best in the London sector as it added 2.06 percent, while Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) was the worst with a decline of 1.19 percent while Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) dropped 1.17 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.23 percent to 1,071.82 while the Dax fell 0.08 percent to 6,304.57, the IBEX was 0.49 percent lower to 10,648.2 and the CAC-40 dropped 0.52 percent to 3,748.86.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower on reports that China ordered its six largest banks to increase the amount of cash held in reserve, a move meant to make it more difficult to get loans and thus cool off the economy there.

There was no official announcement of the move, but employees of the bank involved were cited in media reports of the change in policy.

The Nikkei 225 was 2.09 percent lower to 9,388.64 in Tokyo, while the Topix index dropped 1.77 percent to 824.6 and the Mothers market was down 1.907 percent to 360.04.

Many exporters, including carmakers, saw shares decline in value as the yen strengthened, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) down 1.5 percent while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) fell 2 percent and Mazda Motor (TYO: 7261) dropped 5 percent.

Retailer Fast Retailing Co (TYO: 9983) was down 9.8 percent after it said full-year profits will likely be down by 17 percent on slow sales at its Uniqlo clothing chain.

The Hang Seng was down 0.37 percent to 23,121.7 in Hong Kong while the Straits Times Index fell 0.44 percent to 3,149.36 in Singapore, India’s Sensex was 0.67 percent lower to 20,203.34, the Taiex dropped 1.06 percent to 8,090.22 in Taiwan and South Korea’s Kospi was down 1.16 percent to 1,868.04.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 1.59 percent to 4,686.3 and the S&P/ASX200 was 1.69 percent lower to 4,618.2.

On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite was higher again, adding 1.23 percent to 2,841.41 in China.

Wall Street was mixed in midday trade in New York, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.37 percent to 10,969.16 while the S&P 500 was 0.21 percent lower to 1,162.89, but the Nasdaq Composite had managed to add 0.14 percent to 2,405.81.

Prices for crude oil and metals were also lower at midday in New York, with December contracts for gold trading $6.50 lower than Monday’s close.

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