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Thursday 20th of January 2011
January 18, 2011    

Homebuilder Taylor Wimpey leads gains in London

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by Elaine Frei
Homebuilder Taylor Wimpey leads gains in London

European equities markets were higher Tuesday after Eurozone finance ministers reached an agreement to strengthen a rescue fund for regional economies struggling with debt, although increasing the fund’s size is not presently part of the agreement.

The FTSE 100 was up 1.18 percent to 6,056.43 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 0.76 percent to 11,830.3.

The biggest gains on the day came for Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW), as the homebuilder added 8.39 percent to lead advances on the 250, while Persimmon (LSE: PSN) was up 5.37 percent in the all higher homebuilding sector.

Meanwhile, clothing and accessories manufacturer Burberry Group (LSE: BRBY) led gains on the 100, adding 5.29 percent.

Most miners were higher, led by Kenmare Resources (LSE: KMR) with a gain of 4.04 percent, but of five decliners in the sector, Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) dropped the most, falling 2.94 percent, while Centamin Egypt (LSE: CEY) was down 2.22 percent and African Barrick Gold was down 0.71 percent.

The energy sector was also mostly higher, led by a 6.79 percent gain for oil and gas explorer SOCO International (LSE: SIA), but Essar Energy was the worst of six decliners and led declines on the 100, dropping 4.39 percent on its announcement of a convertible bond sale, with the cash rasied to go toward refinancing debt and funding projects and new acquisitions.

Shire plc (LSE: SHP) added 2.89 percent for the best performance in the pharmaceuticals sector on UK approval for its Reminyl drug for use in patients with mild to meoderate Alzheimer’s disease, while GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) was the only decliner in the sector, dropping 1.95 percent.

The biggest decliner on the 250 was IG Group Holdings, which deals in betting on the financial markets and on sports, with a drop of 7.23 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.92 percent to 1,167.59 while the Dax also added 0.92 percent, to 7,143.45, the CAC-40 was up 0.94 percent to 4,012.68 and the IBEX gained 2.95 percent to 10,583.4.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.15 percent to 10,519 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.31 percent to 931.58, but the Mothers market dropped 1.29 percent to 470.28.

The real estate sector made gains after Nomura raised target share prices on Mitsubishi Estate (TYO: 8802), which was up 3.4 percent, and on Mitsui Fudosan (TYO: 8801), which added 1.5 percent.

In the semiconductors sector, Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) was 1.1 percent higher on unconfirmed media reports that it will soon raise prices on its dynamic random access memory chips by 10 percent.

Oil explorers saw gains after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised demand growth projections for this year based on higher demand in Asia, with Inpex (TYO: 1605) up 4.2 percent, the biggest gain of the session on the Nikkei, while Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (TYO: 1662).

In the steel sector, Nippon Steel (TYO: 5401) was down 1.4 percent and JFE Holdings (TYO: 5411) also dropped 1.4 percent on reports that neither steelmaker will live up to earnings outlooks for the full fiscal year, which ends in March.

The Shanghai Composite added just 0.09 percent to 2,708.98, while the Straits Times Index was up 0.34 percent to 3,249.58 in Singapore and Taiwan’s Taiex was 0.7 percent higher to 8,988.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.8 percent to 4,911.6 and the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.81 percent to 4,801.8, while India’s Sensex added 1.11 percent to 19,092.1.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.01 percent to 24,154, while the Kospi fell 0.16 percent to 2,096.48 in South Korea.

New York markets were higher in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.54 percent to 11,851.5 at just before 1 p.m. local time, while the S&P 500 had added 0.02 percent to 1,293.47 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.09 percent higher to 2,757.75.

Crude oil prices were mixed as Brent crude had most recently added 43 cents to $97.86 per barrel, but West Texas Intermediate crude was 10 cents lower to $91.44 per barrel.

Metals prices were higher in New York trade.

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