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29th of December 2010
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December 29, 2010    

African Barrick Gold leads gains on FTSE 100

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by Elaine Frei
African Barrick Gold leads gains on FTSE 100

European equities markets were mostly higher Wednesday as London markets came back to work after an extended Christmas holiday, with miners seeing big gains on rising metals prices.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.21 percent to 5,996.36 in London, but the FTSE 250 managed to add 1.18 percent to 11,628.9.

Miners took four of the top five spots on the 100’s list of gainers, led by African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG), which added 6.27 percent, while Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) was up 3.42 percent, Anglo American was 2.07 percent higher and Xstrata (LSE: XTA) gained 1.97 percent.

Additionally, Kenmare Resources (LSE: KMR), another miner, was the best performer by far on the 250 as it added 15.81 percent, while Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) was up 3.37 percent after it signed onto a joint venture to develop a gold and silver project in Peru.

Anglo American’s gains came after it said it would invest almost $800 million in a joint iron-ore project aimed at exporting the metal from Brazil.

The only decline in London’s mining sector came from Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO), which dropped 0.45 percent after monsoon flooding hurt coal production in Queensland state, Australia, badly enough that it declared force majeure on contracts being filled from four mines there.

The energy sector was mostly higher, led by SOCO International (LSE: SIA) as the oil and gas explorer added 3.3 percent, but Heritage Oil (LSE: HOIL) led seven decliners in the sector and was the worst performer on the 250 as it dropped 1.36 percent.

London banks were lower, led by Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS), which was 2.24 percent lower, followed by a decline of 1.71 percent for Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY).

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.26 percent to 1,143.23 while the Dax added 0.34 percent to 6,995.47, the IBEX was 0.79 percent higher to 9,981.5 and the CAC-40 gained 0.83 percent to 3,890.65.

Asia-Pacific markets were mostly higher.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent to 10,344.5 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.57 percent but the Mothers market was down 0.12 percent to 434.41, with gains supported by corporate results.

Trader Sojitz Corp (TYO; 2768) gained 3.5 percent after it made a deal with an Australian rare-earth metals developer to double the Australian company’s production capacity after China cut its export quotas for rare-earths by 35 percent in the nation’s first permits for the upcoming year.

Conglomerate Hitachi (TYO: 6501) was up 2.4 percent on reports that it will win a contract to build 1,400 rail cars for the UK.

Watchmaker Citizen Holdings (TYO: 7762) gained 1.1 percent on unattributed media reports that its operating profit nearly doubled in the period between April and December as sales were up.

Australia’s markets were mixed as the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.07 percent to 4,871.6 but the S&P/ASX200 was down 0.04 percent to 4,775.2.

Other gainers in the region included South Korea’s Kospi, which was up 0.5 percent to 2,043.49, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.68 percent to 2,751.53, the Straits Times Index was 0.76 percent higher to 3,207.91 in Singapore, India’s Sensex was up 1.15 percent to 20,256 and the Hang Seng gained 1.54 percent to 22,969.3 in Hong Kong.

Taiwan’s Taiex dropped 0.05 percent to 8,866.35.

New York’s equities markets were higher in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.32 percent to 11,612.9, while at the same time the S&P 500 was up 0.27 percent to 1,261.9 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.26 percent higher to 2,669.84.

Crude oil prices were lower at midday in New York, with West Texas Intermediate crude down 31 cents to $91.18 per barrel, while metals prices were mixed as copper lost ground but gold added just over $6 to $1,411.70 per troy ounce.

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