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October 21, 2010    

BT Group in biggest gains on FTSE 100

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by Elaine Frei
BT Group in biggest gains on FTSE 100

European equities markets advanced Thursday on positive quarterly reports from several companies.

The FTSE 100 was 0.5 percent higher to 5,757.86 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 0.67 percent to 10,904.69.

The telecommunications sector was mixed as BT Group (LSE: BT.A) led gains on the 100 with an advance of 4.06 percent, but Cable & Wireless Worldwide (LSE: CW) fell most in the sector, dropping 3.51 percent.

Oil and gas explorer Afren (LSE: AFR) led gains on the 250 and in the energy sector as it added 14.24 percent, but Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) dropped 2.08 percent after an exploratory deepwater well it was drilling in the waters off Ghana produced no oil, but only water-bearing deposits and oil rig builder and refurbisher Lamprell (LSE: LAM) was the worst performer in the sector as it dropped 4.04 percent,

The biggest loser on the 100 came from the travel and leisure sector, where TUI Travel (LSE: TT) dropped 11.02 percent after an audit of its full year ending September 2009 revealed more writedowns than expected, while rival travel agent Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) fell 0.05 percent.

Still in the travel and leisure sector, bus transport groups which did very well Wednesday on the news that bus subsidies would not be abandoned in government budget cuts were mixed Thursday with Stagecoach Group (LSE: SGC) leading the sector with a gain of 5.27 percent while Go-Ahead Group (LSE: GOG) added 2.2 percent, but National Express Group (LSE: NEX) was down 0.44 percent and FirstGroup (LSE: FGP) dropped 0.47 percent.

The retail sector was also mixed, with the best performance in the sector coming from department store chain Debenhams (LSE: DEB), which added 6.99 percent while the worst decline among retailers came from floor coverings specialist Carpetright (LSE: CPR) as it dropped 2.51 percent.

Ports operator Forth Ports (LSE: FPT) was the biggest decliner on the 250 as it fell 4.16 percent.

Soft drinks maker Britvic (LSE: BVIC) added 5.7 percent on its report that fiscal fourth-quarter revenues were up 33 percent and full-year sales gained 15 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.58 percent to 1,092.73 while the CAC-40 added 1.31 percent to 3,878.27 and the Dax gained 1.33 percent to 6,611.01, but the IBEX dropped 0.04 percent to 10,892.3.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on the session.

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.05 percent to 9,376.48 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 0.4 percent to 820.4 and the Mothers market dropped 0.11 percent to 345.01.

Central Japan Railway (TYO: 9022) was down 5.73 percent on concerns that it will have to sell shares to pay for its new maglev train, expected to be in operation by 2027.

Exporters were hurt as the yen continued at strong levels, with camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) down 0.9 percent while data-storage media manufacturer TDK (TYO: 6762) was 1.3 percent lower.

Banks were down in Tokyo on a report from Credit Suisse which raised concerns that bank regulations will impose more restrictions and that international banks will be hit with a capital surcharge.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) fell 0.6 percent while Mizuho Financial Group (LSE: 8411) was down 0.8 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) dropped 1 percent.

The Straits Times Limited was down 0.49 percent to 3,163.53, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.68 percent to 2,983.53.

Australia’s markets were mixed as the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.04 percent to 4,696.4 but the S&P/ASX200 was 0.04 percent lower to 4,622.9.

Gainers in the region included Taiwan’s Taiex, which added 0.08 percent to 8,131.23, while the Kospi was up 0.23 percent to 1,874.69 in South Korea, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.39 percent to 23,649.48 and the Sensex was 1.95 percent higher to 20,260.58 in India.

India’s markets were helped as interest in the initial public offering from Coal India Ltd. Translated into gains for other sectors as well.

New York equities markets were higher in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.29 percent to 11,139.75 while at the same time the S&P 500 was up 0.19 percent to 1,180.45 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.07 percent higher to 2,459.21.

Prices for crude oil and metals were lower at midday, with West Texas Intermediate crude trading $1.64 below Wednesday’s close while December contracts for gold were down nearly $14 from yesterday’s levels.

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