Royal Bank of Scotland Group leads gains on FTSE 100

| December 21, 2010
Royal Bank of Scotland Group leads gains on FTSE 100

European equities markets were higher Tuesday on the prospect that the US Commerce Department will say that the gross domestic product was up more than anticipated in the third quarter when it reports on Wednesday, and after China’s vice premier said that his country has moved to help some European economies in solving their debt problems.

The FTSE 100 was up 1.02 percent to 5,951.8 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 0.64 percent to 11,506.7.

Banks were higher, with Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS) leading the sector and gains on the 100 as it added 4.47 percent, while Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) was up 2.82 percent on the news that its incoming CEO purchased £1 million in stock.

Cruise operator Carnival (LSE: CCL) was 3.71 percent to lead gains in a mostly higher travel and leisure sector after it said earnings will go up next year, but casino operator and online gambler Rank Group (LSE: RNK) dropped 3.47 percent for the worst performance in the sector.

Three of the top five gainers on the 100 came from the basic resources sector, which includes miners, as Anglo American (LSE: AAL) was up 4.17 percent, Xstrata (LSE: XTA) added 3.51 percent and Vedanta Resources was 3.26 percent higher, while the best performer in the sector, paper manufacturer Mondi (LSE: MNDI) added 5.03 percent to lead gains on the 250 after a merger between two other paper makers triggered expectations of further mergers and acquisitions activity among paper makers.

The worst performance on the 100 came from power generator rental group Aggreko (LSE: AGK), which was down 2.93 percent, while clothing retailer SuperGroup (LSE: SGP) dropped 5.47 percent for the worst day on the 250.

The energy sector was mostly higher, led by a 2.97 percent gain for John Wood Group (LSE: WG), but of the three decliners in the sector, two were among the biggest decliners on the 100, as oil and gas explorer Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) was down 1.26 percent and BG Group (LSE: BG) dropped 1.09 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.95 percent to 1,144.19 while the Dax added 0.85 percent to 7,077.99, the CAC-40 was 1.09 percent higher to 3,927.49 and the IBEX gained 2.07 percent to 10,203.4.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher as tensions between North and South Korea eased after the North refrained from striking back over military exercises in the South and on reports that the North Korean government will allow international inspectors to tour uranium enrichment facilities there.

The Nikkie 225 closed at a seven-month higher, adding 1.51 percent to 10,370.5 in Tokyo, but it was still 1.7 percent below where it started the year, while the Topix index was up 0.85 percent to 906.21 and the Mothers market gained 0.7 percent to 433.1.

Exporters were helped by predictions from a regional US Federal Reserve official that growth in the US next year could top the expectations of economists.

Camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) was up 1.6 percent while consumer electronics maker Sony (TYO: 6758) and Wii game console manufacturer Nintendo (TYO: 7974) each added 2.7 percent, and camera maker Nikon (TYO: 7731) was 2.8 percent higher.

The Straits Times Index was up 0.22 percent to 3,139.85 in Singapore, while Taiwan’s Taiex added 0.67 percent to 8,827.79 and Australia’s markets were up as the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.69 percent to 4,862.5 and the S&P/ASX200 was 0.75 percent higher to 4,771.9.

South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.83 percent to 2,037.09, the Sensex added 0.86 percent to 20,060.3 in India, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.57 percent higher to 22,993.9 and the Shanghai Composite gained 1.79 percent to 2,904.11.

New York’s equities markets were higher on news about mergers and acquisitions, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.44 percent to 11,528.1 just before 1 p.m. local time, while the S&P 500 had gained 0.55 percent to 1,254 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.61 percent higher to 2,665.63.

Crude oil prices were up, with West Texas Intermediate crude up 40 cents to $89.77 per barrel in midday trade.

Among metals, gold and silver were both slightly lower in New York trade, but copper had added 6 cents per pound as imports into China were reported up by 37 percent last month and on supply disruptions from a large mine in Chile after an accident closed the port the mine ships from.

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