Standard Chartered leads London banks lower

| November 19, 2010 | 0 Comments
Standard Chartered leads London banks lower

European equities markets were mostly lower Friday on continuing concerns that the debt problems of some European nations could hamper economic recovery, as well as on China’s announcement that it has increased reserve requirements for its banks in order to cool inflation there.

The FTSE 100 was 0.62 percent lower to 5,732.83 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.16 percent to 10,827.1.

Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) led London-listed banks lower, falling 2.65 percent as investors hesitated to act before they knew the implications of any possible bailout for Ireland’s banks.

The best performer on the 100 was chipmaker ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM), which added 3.86 percent, while pubs operator Enterprise Inns (LSE: ETI) added 6.76 percent to lead gains on the 250 and in the travel and leisure sector.

Other pubs operators also saw gains, with Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) adding 2.54 percent while Mitchells & Butlers (LSE: MAB), which operates restaurants as well as pubs, was up 2.51 percent.

The biggest decliner in the travel and leisure sector was car rental agent Avis Europe (LSE: AVE), which was down 2.84 percent.

Software maker Sage Group (LSE: SGE) was the biggest decliner on the 100, falling 3.05 percent, while pharmaceuticals group BTG (LSE: BGC) was down 7.73 percent in the worst performance on the 250.

Most miners saw declines, led by a 3.53 percent drop for Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP), while African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG), was the best of four gainers in the sector as it added 1.31 percent.

The energy sector was mixed, with gains led by oil rig builder and refurbisher Lamprell (LSE: LAM), which added 6.41 percent, followed by a gain of 5.07 percent for oil and gas explorer Heritage Oil (LSE: HOIL), while another oil and gas explorer, Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) turned in the biggest decline of the session as it dropped 2 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.6 percent to 1,101.5 while the CAC-40 fell 0.2 percent to 3,860.16 and the IBEX dropped 0.52 percent to 10,271.7, but the Dax managed to add 0.17 percent to 6,843.55.

Markets were mixed in the Asia-Pacific region, with most markets closed before China announced that it will raise reserve requirements for banks from 29 November, with the four largest banks in the nation required to keep 18.5 percent in reserve, while smaller banks will need to keep reserves of 16 percent to 16.5 percent.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.09 percent to 10,022.4 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.08 percent to 869.52 and the Mothers market gained 0.48 percent to 374.08.

Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) was up 1.6 percent, while chipmaker Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) added 5.7 percent on broker comment and was also helped by US computer maker Dell’s (NAS: DELL) third-quarter results, which showed that profits were above estimates and margins increased.

Broker Nomura Holdings (TYO: 8604) gained 1.6 percent on hopes of better earnings.

Other gainers in the region included Taiwan’s Taiex, which was up 0.27 percent to 8,306.12, while the Kospi added 0.68 percent to 1,940.96 in South Korea and the Shanghai Composite gained 0.81 percent to 2,888.57.

Australia’s markets were lower as the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.11 percent to 4,717.7 and the S&P/ASX200 was down 0.24 percent to 4,629.2.

The Hang Seng was 0.13 percent lower to 23,605.7 in Hong Kong while Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.56 percent to 3,1097.37 and the Sensex dropped 1.73 percent to 19,585.4 in India.

New York markets were lower in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.12 percent to 11,168.1 while at the same time the S&P 500 had dropped 0.1 percent to 1,195.52 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.06 percent lower to 2,512.81.

Crude oil prices had dropped in midday trade in New York, while metals prices were mixed, with gold and copper slightly lower while silver was up 20 cents.

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