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Monday 31st of January 2011
December 14, 2010    

BP gains on sale of Pakistan holdings

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by Elaine Frei
BP gains on sale of Pakistan holdings

European equities markets were mostly higher Tuesday after the US Commerce Department reported that retail sales in the United States were up by 0.8 percent in November, more of an advance than had been expected, although the Dax dropped 0.03 percent to 7,027.4 in Frankfurt despite a new survey which showed that investor confidence is up this month, send lower by declines for automobile manufacturers.

The FTSE 100 added 0.52 percent to 5,891.21 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 0.44 percent to 11,409.8.

Oil company BP (LSE: BP) was up 3.22 percent to lead gains in the oil sector and on the 100 on the news that it sold some holdings in Pakistan to United Energy Group Ltd. (SEHK: 0467), while the worst performer in the energy sector was Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) with a decline of 1.49 percent.

The worst result on the 100 came from hotel and restaurant operator Whitbread (LSE: WTB), which was down 2.79 percent even though it said sales were up in the third quarter, while over on the 250 restaurant and pubs operator Restaurant Group (LSE: RTN) turned in the worst performance on that index and in the travel and leisure sector as it dropped 3.21 percent.

The best performance in the travel and leisure sector came from casino operator and online gambler Rank Group (LSE: RNK), which added 3.76 percent.

The biggest gainer on the 250 was from technology group Imagination Technologies (LSE: (IMG), which was up 5.7 percent.

Housebuilders were up, led by Persimmon (LSE: PSN) with a gain of 4.99 percent and Redrow (LSE: RDW), which was 3.98 percent higher, but Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) dropped 0.11 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.19 percent to 1,131.48 while the IBEX added 0.11 percent to 10,162.7 and the CAC-40 gained 0.27 percent to 3,902.87.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher again, although Singapore’s Straits Times Index was once again lower, falling 0.17 percent to 3,176.91.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.22 percent to 10,316.8 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 0.5 percent to 901.89 and the Mothers market gained 2.32 percent to 418.73.

Brokers were up in Tokyo, extending yesterday’s gains on reports that the Financial Services Agency wants to maintain reduced capital-gains taxes rather than ending the lower rates on schedule.

Nomura Holdings (TYO: 8604) was 1.5 percent higher, while Daiwa Securities Group (TYO: 8601) added 2.9 percent and Mizuho Securities (TYO: 8606) was up 4.1 percent.

Banks also saw gains after Deutsche Bank maintained its “overweight” rating on the sector, with Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) adding 0.5 percent while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) was 0.6 percent higher and Mizuho Financial Group (TYO: 8411) gained 0.7 percent.

Deutsche Bank upped its recommendation on Olympus (TYO: 7733) from “hold” to “buy”, sending shares in the camera maker up 3.6 percent.

Otherwise, Tokyo exporters were mostly lower on a stronger yen.

Elsewhere in the region Taiwan’s Taiex was up 0.04 percent to 8,740.43, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.14 percent to 2,927.08.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.2 percent to 4,850.9 and the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.21 percent to 4,766.9, while the Hang Seng was up 0.49 percent to 23,431.2 in Hong Kong, India’s Sensex was 0.55 percent higher to 19,799.2 and the Kospi added 0.62 percent to 2,009.05 in South Korea.

New York markets were higher at just before 1 p.m., with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.62 percent to 11,499.1 while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 0.43 percent to 1,245.82 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.39 percent higher to 2,635.05.

The price of crude oil was up slightly in New York in midday trade, while precious metals prices were also higher but copper was a bit lower.

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