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November 23, 2010    

Barclays Bank lower on US SEC investigation

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by Elaine Frei
Barclays Bank lower on US SEC investigation

European equities markets were lower Tuesday after North Korea fired artillery rounds at South Korea, killing at least one South Korea solider, with South Korea returning fire, adding to continuing concerns about debt issues in some European countries to send share prices down.

The FTSE 100 was 1.75 percent lower to 5,581.28 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 1.64 percent to 10,619.3.

Banks were lower, with Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) falling 2.13 percent after the US Securities and Exchange Commission said the bank might have violated securities laws in a transfer from Lehman Brothers Holdings in September 2008.

Other London banks were lower, except for Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which added 0.53 percent on the session.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, Bank of Ireland (ISEQ: BKIR) dropped 25 percent after the government said it wants national elections early next year.

Miners were mostly lower, led down by Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) with a decline of 4.55 percent, but gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) led gains on the 100 as it added 1.5 percent and gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) turned in the best performance in the sector as it added 2.21 percent.

Electronics group Laird (LSE: LRD) was up 9.12 percent to lead gains on the 250, while security currencies papermaker and printer De La Rue (LSE: DLAR) dropped most on that index, falling 10.51 percent after it abandoned a planned share buyback as revenues fell 17 percent in the most recent half year results.

Investment managers Man Group (LSE: EMG) was the worst performer on the 100 with a decline of 4.85 percent.

Rolls-Royce Group (LSE: RR) added 1.35 percent after Qantas Airways (ASX: QAN) said it will put some of its Airbus A380 airplanes back in the air this weekend after taking them out of service when one of its planes had to make an emergency landing recently when one of its Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines exploded in flight.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 1.33 percent to 1,078.87 while the Dax fell 1.72 percent to 6.705, the CAC-40 was 2.47 percent lower to 3,724.42 and the IBEX dropped 3.05 percent to 9,691.8.

There were only two gainers each on the CAC-40 and the Dax.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower after the shelling incident between North and South Korea, although the declines in South Korea and Australian markets could not be blamed on the incident, which occurred after markets closed in those countries.

Markets in the region were also hurt by continuing concerns over debt problems in some European nations and on the possibility that China will tighten monetary policy further to fight inflation.

Taiwan’s Taiex was down 0.55 percent to 8,328.63 and the Kospi fell 0.79 percent to 1,928.94, while Australia’s Sydney Ordinaries dropped 1.16 percent to 4,676.9 and the S&P/ASX200 was 1.17 percent lower to 4,589.1.

The Sensex was down 1.33 percent to 19,691.8 in India, the Shanghai Composite fell 1.94 percent to 2,828.28, Siingapore’s Straits Times Index was 2.03 percent lower to 3,126.3 and the Hang Seng dropped 2.67 percent to 22,896.1 in Hong Kong.

Tokyo’s markets were closed in observance of Labor Thanksgiving Day.

New York markets were also lower as investors worried about the situation between North and South Korea, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.44 percent to 4,017.1 while the S&P 500 had dropped 1.54 percent to 1,179.42 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.76 percent lower to 2,487.46.

The price of crude oil was down from Monday’s close, but had made some of its earlier losses back by midday, while in metals markets gold was up nearly $14 per troy ounce but silver and copper were lower in New York trade.

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