Barclays Bank leads gains on FTSE 100

| February 15, 2011
Barclays Bank leads gains on FTSE 100

Most European equities markets were higher Tuesday on positive quarterly results from some corporations and after investor confidence rose in Germany.

London markets, however, were lower as the FTSE 100 fell 0.38 percent to 6,037.08 and the FTSE 250 dropped 0.71 percent to 11,749.7, after new data showed that UK inflation was at 4 percent in January, double the target set by the government.

Despite the declines, most London banks were higher, led by a 4.18 percent gain by Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC), which topped gainers on the 100 after it said that full-year net income, while down, was better than expected as there were fewer writedowns than had been predicted.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS) was up 2.15 percent and Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) added 2.11 percent, but HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) was down 0.56 percent.

Food manufacturer Premier Foods (LSE: PFD) was the best performer on the 250, adding 16.52 percent on profits that rose 0.6 percent in the full year.

Chipmaker ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM) turned in the worst performance on the 100, but Imagination Technologies Group (LSE: IMG) added 15.35 percent.

Software group Micro Focus International (LSE: MCRO) was the worst performer on the 250, where it was down 26.33 percent after it said that revenue and adjusted earnings in the quarter ending 31 Jan were lower than management had expected.

Miners were mostly lower, with Anglo American (LSE: AAL) turning in the worst performance in the sector with a decline of 3.8 percent after Citigroup cut its recommendation in the miners from “buy” to “hold”, while gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) was down 2.82 percent and Xstrata (LSE: XTA) was 2.33 percent lower after it had to halt operations at a mine in Australia due to flooding.

Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) had the best day of five gainers in the mining sector, adding 2.96 percent on the session.

The travel and leisure sector was mostly lower, led down by online gambler Sporting bet (LSE: SBT), which fell 4.22 percent, followed by a 3.92 percent decline for Domino’s Pizza UK & IRL (LSE: DOM) and a drop of 3.41 percent for brewer and pubs operator Marston’s (LSE: MARS), while public transport company Go-Ahead Group (LSE: GOG) added 3.31 percent to lead a few gainers in the sector.

In the retail sector, JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD) led gainers as it added 4.65 percent, while Mothercare (LSE: MTC),which carries merchandise for expectant mothers and young children saw the biggest decline among retailers as it dropped 2.49 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.14 percent to 1,179.46 while the Dax added 0.05 percent to 7,400.04, the CAC-40 was 0.33 percent higher to 4,110.34 and the IBEX gained 0.48 percent to 10,826.2.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on new concerns that the People’s Bank of China will raise interest rates or hike reserve requirements for banks there once again after inflation was higher than government targets again, with consumer price up 4.9 percent in January, from December.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to 10,746.7 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.35 percent to 962.57 and the Mothers market gained 0.65 percent to 492.61.

The gains in Japan came after the Bank of Japan issued a more optimistic evaluation of the economy there for the first time in nine months.

Carmakers were higher, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) was 1 percent higher, while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) added 1.2 percent.

Other gainers in the region included the Shanghai Composite, which was just 0.1 of a point higher to 2,899.24, while the Sensex added 0.39 percent to 18,273.8 in India and Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.42 percent to 8,721.93.

Australia’s markets were lower as the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.08 percent to 5,019.4 and the S&P/ASX200 fell 0.1 percent to 4,931, while South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.2 percent to 2,010.52, the Straits Times Index was 0.77 percent lower to 3,080.66 in Singapore and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.96 percent to 22,899.8.

New York markets were lower in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.32 percent to 12,229.5 while at the same time the S&P 500 had dropped 0.27 percent to 1,328.71 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.24 percent lower to 2,810.43.

Crude oil prices were lower at shortly before 1 p.m., while metals prices were mixed as copper dropped 9 cents below yesterday’s record high close but precious metals prices were up.

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