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Sunday 16th of January 2011
January 13, 2011    

Tesco, Dixons lead declines on FTSE 100, 250

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by Elaine Frei
Tesco, Dixons lead declines on FTSE 100, 250

European equities markets were mixed Thursday as several main markets were higher but the FTSE Eurofirst 300, which tracks the region’s 300 largest companies by market capitalization, declined by 0.63 percent to 1,156.63.

The FSTE 100 was 0.44 percent lower to 6,023.88 in London, but the FTSE 250 added 0.01 percent to 11,767.

The biggest decliners on both the 100 and the 250 were retailers, as supermarket chain Tesco (LSE: TSCO) dropped 4.28 percent on the 100 while consumer electronics retailer Dixons (LSE: DXNS) was down 10.03 percent after its total sales dropped 2 percent in the quarter ending 8 January.

The decline for Tesco came after sales rose just 0.6 percent in the month and a half ending 8 January, which it blamed on bad weather, but grocer J. Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY) saw sales go up 3..6 percent in its fiscal third quarter, although it ended in the negative column as well, dropping 0.13 percent.

Still in the retail sector, DIY retailer Home Retail Group led gains as it added 10.24 percent.

British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) was down 3.57 percent after Merrill Lynch downgraded the tobacco group from “buy” to “neutral”.

Banks, miners and the energy sector were all mixed in London.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS) led gains among banks as it added 3.47 percent, while Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) was the worst performer in the sector as it dropped 1.12 percent.

Among miners, Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP) was the best performer with a gain of 4.79 percent, while Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) dropped 4.44 percent to lead decliners in the sector.

Oil explorer Exillon Energy (LSE: EXI) led gains in the energy sector as it added 4.33 percent, while oil rig builder and refurbisher Lamprell (LSE: LAM) dropped 4.41 percent for the worst performance in the sector.

Engineering group IMI (LSE: IMI) turned in the best performance on the 100 as it added 4.23 percent, while car rental agent Avis Europe (LSE: AVE) was up 11.68 percent to lead gains on the 250.

The Dax added 0.09 percent to 7,075.11 in Frankfurt, while the CAC-40 was up 0.75 percent to 3,974.83 in Paris and Madrid’s IBEX gained 2.67 percent to 10,370.8.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on increased optimism about debt problems in Europe after a successful bond auction in Portugal on Wednesday.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.73 percent higher to 10,589.8 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 0.87 percent to 937.74 and the Mothers market gained 3.51 percent to 474.43.

Banks were higher in Tokyo, with Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) up 1.3 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group added 1.7 percent and Mizuho Financial Group was 2.4 percent higher.

The real estate sector saw advances on lower vacancy rates in Tokyo as Mitsui Fudosan (TYO; 8801) gained 1.3 percent ad Mitsubishi Estate (TYO; 8802) added 3.3 percent.

Carmakers were higher, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) up 1 percent and Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) adding 1.8 percent.

Japan Petroleum Exploration (TYO: 1662) was 1.1 percent higher after crude oil prices rose in New York trade yesterday, while Inpex (TYO: 1605) gained 2.1 percent.

Among camera makers, Nikon (TYO: 7731) was up 2 percent and Canon (TYO: 7751), which also makes copiers, added 2.1 percent.

The Taiex was up 0.12 percent to 8,975.58 in Taiwan, the Shanghai Composite added 0.23 percent to 2,827.71, Singapore’s Straits Times Index was 0.34 percent higher to 3,255.87 and the Hang Seng was up 0.47 percent to 24,239 in Hong Kong.

Australia’s markets were higher, with the Sydney Ordinaries adding 1.44 percent to 4,901.5 while the S&P/ASX200 gained 1.5 percent to 4,795.2.

South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.26 percent to 2,089.48 after the central bank there unexpectedly raised interest rates, while the Sensex dropped 1.8 percent to 19,182.8 after disappointing results from a software group.

New York markets were mixed after the US Labor Department reported that new unemployment claims were up by 35,000 last week, to 445,000, against projections that new claims would be at 410,000 for the week.

At just before 1 p.m. local time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.16 percent lower to 11,736.4 and the S&P 500 had dropped 0.04 percent to 1,285.48, but the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.08 percent to 2,739.49.

Crude oil prices were down slightly in midday trade, while metals prices were also lower.

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