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Tuesday 04th of January 2011
December 30, 2010    

Gold miner Fresnillo adds most on FTSE 100

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by Elaine Frei
Gold miner Fresnillo adds most on FTSE 100

European equities markets were lower Thursday as trade volumes fell on the last full day of trade for the year in many markets, with some planning an early close tomorrow on New Year’s Eve and even though new economic data from the United States was largely positive.

The FTSE 100 was 0.42 percent lower to 5,971.01 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.51 percent to 11,569.4, with declines coming despite the fact that first-time unemployment claims in the US fell to their lowest level in nearly two and a half years last week, dropping by 34,000 to 388,000 and pending sales of preexisting homes in the US were up 3.5 percent in November.

The mining sector was mixed as sector constituents were the biggest gainers on both the 100 and the 250, but also provided the worst performance of the session on the 100.

Gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) led gains on the 100, adding 2.59 percent, while Kenmare Resources (LSE: KMR) lead gains on the 250 and among miners as it gained 8.1 percent, but Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) dropped 2.39 percent for the worst day on the 100.

The energy sector was mostly lower, with wind turbine gearbox manufacturer Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN) dropping 3.47 percent for the worst performance in the sector, while Petrofac Ltd (LSE: PFC), which provides construction and chemical engineering services to the oil industry, added 1.07 percent to lead gains in the sector.

The worst performer on the 250 came from the travel and leisure sector, where casino and online gambling operator Rank Group (LSE: RNK) dropped 6.23 percent and had the worst day in the sector, while online gambler Sportingbet (LSE: SBT) added 2.2 percent to lead gains in the sector.

Most constituents in the pharmaceuticals sector were lower, but Shire plc (LSE: SHP) managed a gain of 1.1 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 1.26 percent to 1,128.62 while the CAC-40 fell 1.03 percent to 3,850.76, the Dax was 1.16 percent lower to 6,914.19 and the IBEX dropped 1.23 percent to 9,859.1.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly higher, but Tokyo’s markets declined on the last trading day of the year there as the yen strengthened.

The Nikkei 225 fell 1.12 percent to 10,228.9, while the Topix index was down 1.01 percent to 898.8 and the Mothers market dropped 0.18 percent to 433.63.

Oil companies were lower after the price of crude oil fell on Wednesday, with Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (TYO: 1662) down 1.4 percent while Inpex (TYO: 1605) was 1.7 percent lower.

Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) fell 1.4 percent as banks saw declines, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) was 1.9 percent lower and Mizuho Financial Group dropped 2.6 percent.

The stronger yen hurt exporters, with video game manufacturer Nintendo (TYO: 7974) dropping 2.4 percent.

Elsewhere, things looked a bit better as the Hang Seng added 0.13 percent to 22,999.3 in Hong Kong, the Straits Times Index was up 0.14 percent to 3,212.46 in Singapore, and the Shanghai Composite was 0.29 percent higher to 2,759.57 in China.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.31 percent to 4,886.7 and the S&P/ASX200 was 0.32 percent higher to 4,790.4, while South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.37 percent,, the Taiex added 0.47 percent to 8,907 in Taiwan and India’s Sensex gained 0.66 percent to 20,389.1.

New York markets were lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.19 percent to 11,563.5 while at the same time the S&P 500 was down 0.18 percent to 1,257.49 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.09 percent lower to 2,664..49.

Crude oil prices were lower in New York after the US Energy Information Administration reported new data showing that US crude stockpiles didn’t drop as much as predicted last week, with February contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude down nearly $2 per barrel in midday trade.

Gold and silver prices were lower at midday, but despite a decline of more than $9, gold was still trading above $1,400 per troy ounce, while at the same time copper had added 4 cents per pound.

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