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Thursday 28th of October 2010
October 25, 2010    

Lloyds Banking Group leads London banks in declines

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by Elaine Frei
Lloyds Banking Group leads London banks in declines

European markets were mostly higher Monday after the meeting of the G20 nation’s finance ministers in South Korea over the weekend produced a pledge that the nations will not devalue their currencies but let the market determine valuations, but the US dollar weakened anyway on continuing speculation that the US Federal Reserve will make moves to ease monetary policy soon.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.18 percent to 5,751.98 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 10,978.1.

Most banks were lower, led by a drop of 5.63 percent for Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) after Credit Suissse cut the bank’s target share price by 9.2 percent, but HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) managed to gain 0.24 percent on the session.

The energy sector was mixed as oil well construction and supply group Hunting plc (LSE: HTG) added 2.3 percent for the best performance in the sector, while Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN), which makes gearboxes for wind turbines, dropped 3.38 percent for the worst day in the sector.

Most miners saw gains on higher base metals prices as Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) was up 4.3 percent on the 250 for the best performance in the sector, while three miners were among the top five gainers on the 100, led by Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO), which added 4.1 percent as the best performer on the 100, followed by Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) with a gain of 3.53 percent.

Business and financial magazine publisher Euromoney Institutional Investor (LSE: ERM) was up most on the 250, adding 5.98 percent, but publisher Pearson (LSE: PSON) was 2.92 percent lower for the worst day in the media sector.

The retail sector was mostly higher, with online grocer Ocado Group up most as it added 5.83 percent, but JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD) dropped 3.61 percent for the worst performance among retailers and on the 250.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.31 percent to 1,092.87 while the CAC-40 added just 0.04 percent to 3,870 and the Dax gained 0.51 percent to 6,639.21, but the IBEX dropped 0.5 percent to 10,870.3.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher as commodities prices saw gains and after two stock exchange operators jointly announced a takeover bid by one for the other.

Australian Securities Exchange Ltd (ASX: ASX) and Singapore Exchange Ltd said that the Singapore exchange operator has offered A$8.4 billion ($8.3 billion) for ASX.

Tokyo’s markets, however, were mostly lower as the yen strengthened again, to a 15-year high, sending many exporters lower, with the Nikkei 225 falling 0.27 percent to 9,401.16 while the Topix index was down 0.44 percent to 821.23, although the Mothers market added 1.05 percent to 354.

Printer makers Canon (TYO: 7751) and Kyocera (TYO: 6971) were down 1.06 percent and 1.77 percent respectively, while electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) fell 0.37 percent, Panasonic Corp (TYO: 6752) was 0.33 percent lower and carmaker Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) dropped 1.13 percent.

The Straits Times Index was up 0.27 percent to 3,182.08 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.47 percent to 23,627.9, the Sensex was 0.68 percent higher to 20,303.1 in India and South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.97 percent to 1,915.71.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries gained 1.29 percent to 4,780.6 and the S&P/ASX200 was up 1.33 percent to 4,780.6.

Taiwan’s Taiex was 1.7 percent higher to 8,306.98 while the Shanghai Composite gained 2.57 percent to 3,051.42.

New York markets were up in midday trade after the National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes were up by 10 percent last month.

The news sent shares in homebuilders higher, but analysts pointed out that sales are still weak compared to last year’s levels and a large inventory of unsold homes remains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.45 percent to 11,182.6 in midday trade, while the S&P 500 had added 0.41 percent to 1,187.93 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.59 percent higher to 2,494.02.

Crude oil prices were mixed at midday in New York, with West Texas Intermediate crude up 4 cents and Brent crude down 4 cents recently.

Metals prices were higher, with gold up $10.40 to $1,335.50 per troy ounce.

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