Royal Bank of Scotland tops 100, banking sector

| December 1, 2010 | 0 Comments
Royal Bank of Scotland tops 100, banking sector

European equities markets saw gains Wednesday after China’s Federation of Logistics and Purchasing issued new data showing that manufacturing there expanded in November, leading to higher prices for commodities and gains among miners.

The FTSE 100 added 2.07 percent to 5,642.5 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 1.9 percent to 10,809.3.

Banks led gains on the 100, with Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS) adding 6.09 percent, followed by Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY), which gained 6.03 percent while Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) was 4.63 percent higher.

Miners were up substantially on the news that China’s factory activity expanded last month, led by Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) with a gain of 7.79 percent and followed by Xstrata (LSE: XTA), which was up 5.8 percent while Talvivaara Mining (LSE: TALV) added 5.56 percent and Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) was 5.34 percent higher.

The only miner to see declines was Kenmare Resources (LSE: KMR), which was down 2.32 percent.

The top three decliners on the 100 were all in the utility sector, with electric and gas utility National Grid (LSE: NG) turning the worst performance as it dropped 2.73 percent, while water utilities Severn Trent (LSE: SVT) and United Utilities (LSE: UU) were down 2.49 percent and 1.17 percent respectively.

Both National Grid and Severn Trent are currently trading ex-dividend..

Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) led declines on the 250 and in the travel and leisure sector, down 4.46 percent on a reported full-year loss of £2.6 million ($4 million), largely due to travel interruptions earlier this year after airports were forced to close when a volcano erupted in Iceland, while Numis Decurities cut its recommendation on the travel agent from “add” to “hold”

Otherwise, the travel and leisure sector was mostly higher, led by online gamblers PartyGaming (LSE: PRTY) and Sportingbet (LSE: SBT), which added 7.51 percent and 6.03 percent respectively.

Leading gains on the 250 was conference organizer ITE Group (LSE: ITE), which gained 11.17 percent, followed by banknote printer De La Rue (LSE:DLAR) with a gain of 10.21 percent.

Software group Micro Focus International Plc (LSE: MCRO) was 8.45 percent higher on a broker upgrade from “underperform” to “hold”.

Insurer Prudential (LSE: PRU) was up 5.46 percent after it said it will double its profits in Asia by 2013.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 2.04 percent to 1,089.03 while the CAC-40 added 1.63 percent to 3,669.29, the Dax was 2.66 percent higher to 6,866.63 and the IBEX gained 4.44 percent to 9,678.4.

There were no decliners on the Dax and only three on the CAC-40.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were up Wednesday, helped by new data showing that manufacturing activity expanded in China and that consumer confidence is up in the United States.

The China Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 55.2 in November, up from 54.7 in October, above analysts’ forecasts, while in the United States, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index was up to 54.1 in November.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.51 percent to 9,988.05 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.6 percent to 866.07 and the Mothers market gained 0.62 percent to 387.15.

Carmakers saw gains, led by Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203), which added 2.8 percent after it filed suit against the company in charge of General Motors’ (NYSE: GM) discarded assets, seeking damages related to the closing of a factory the two operated jointly, while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was up 2.3 percent and Nissan Motor (TYO: 7201) gained 1.9 percent.

Nintendo (TYO: 7974) was 2.2 percent higher after it said it sold more of its Wii game consoles this year than last in the United States.

Glassmakers were lower after two companies in the sector received downgrades from Goldman Sachs.

Asahi Glass (TYO: 5201) fell 3 percent after its recommendation was dropped from “neutral” to “sell”, while Nippon Electric Glass (TYO: 5214) was 3.2 percent lower on its downgrade from “buy” to “neutral.”

Goldman Sachs cited expansions of capacity by both companies that analysts fear could lead to oversupply as a reason for its downgrades.

Australia’s markets were slightly higher as the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.01 percent to 4,676.8 and the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.05 percent to 4,586.6.

Elsewhere in the region, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.12 percent to 2,823.45 while the Hang Seng was 1.05 percent higher to 23,249.8 in Hong Kong, Shanghai’s Straits Times Index added 1.18 percent to 3,181.94, and the Kospi gained 1.3 percent to 1,929.32 in South Korea.

India’s Sensex was up 1.68 percent to 19,850 while the Taiex was 1.76 percent higher to 8,520.11 in Taiwan.

New York markets were also higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 2.22 percent to 11,250.4 at just before 1 p.m. there, while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 2.12 percent to 1,205.62 and the Nasdaq Composite was 2.27 percent higher to 2,554.83.

Crude oil prices were up by more than $2 per barrel in New York and London, with gains for crude coming even though US inventories added 1.1 million barrels last week and gasoline stockpiles were also higher.

Metals prices were also higher, with copper up just over 3 percent in New York trade at midday.

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