Cruise operator Carnival, airlines decline on travel, fuel concerns

| February 23, 2011
Cruise operator Carnival, airlines decline on travel, fuel concerns

European equities markets were lower again Wednesday as violence escalated in Libya after leader Muammar Qaddafi insisted yet again that he would not leave office, escalating concerns that civil unrest in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East could impair economic recovery around the globe.

The FTSE 100 was down 1.22 percent to 5,923.53 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 1.12 percent to 11,521.9.

Travel stocks were hurt by concerns that both travel and fuel supplies would be hampered by the unrest, sending cruise operator Carnival (LSE: CCL) down 4.17 percent to lead declines in the travel and leisure sector, while airlines were also lower, with easyJet (LSE: EZJ) down 2.87 percent while International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE: IAG) dropped 1.6 percent.

There were only two gainers in the travel and leisure sector, led by public transport company Go-Ahead Group (LSE: GOG) with a gain of 3.84 percent, while online gambler PartyGaming (LSE: PRTY) added just 0.12 percent.

The biggest decliner on the 100 was beverage can manufacturer Rexam (LSE: REX), which was down 5.84 percent even though it reported net income for the full year at £124 million after losing £29 million the previous year.

Over on the 250, the biggest loser was IT services group Logica (LSE: LOG) with a decline of 5.37 percent despite more than quadrupling pre-tax profits last year, as it missed analyst expectations.

There were only two gainers in the basic resources sector, which includes miners, with paper maker Mondi (LSE: MNDI) up 0.46 percent and gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) adding 0.37 percent, while Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) was the biggest decliner in the sector as it fell 5.06 percent, followed by Xstrata (LSE: XTA) and Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC), which dropped 4.4 percent and 4.3 percent respectively.

The real estate sector was mixed, with Capital & Counties Properties (LSE: CAPC) adding 2.98 percent for the best performance in the sector, while self-storage specialists Big Yellow Group (LSE: BYG) dropped 1.87 percent for the worst day in the sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 1.01 percent to 1,152.82 while the IBEX fell 0.64 percent to 10,633.4, the CAC-40 was 0.92 percent lower to 4,013.12 and the Dax dropped 1.69 percent to 7,194.6.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower again as the situation in Libya remained volatile, but the Shanghai Composite managed a gain of 0.25 percent to 2,862.63.

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.8 percent to 10,579.1 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 1.03 percent to 946.88 and the Mothers market dropped 1.02 percent to 496.07.

Exporters were lower as the yen strengthened, with carmakers Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) and Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) down 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent respectively, while camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) dropped 1.8 percent.

Shippers declined as fees to send cargo fell again, sending Mitsui OSK Lines (TYO: 9104) 1.8 percent lower while Nippon Yusen (TYO: 9101) was down 2.7 percent and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (TYO: 9107) dropped 3.3 percent.

Oil companies were lower on concerns that continuing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East could interrupt supplies of crude oil, with Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (TYO: 1662) falling 2.6 percent while Inpex (TYO: 1605) was down 4.1 percent.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 was 0.22 percent lower to 4,845.9 while the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.24 percent to 4,935.6, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng was down 0.36 percent to 22,906.9 as property developers lost ground.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.42 percent to 1,961.63, the Straits Times Index was down 0.57 percent to 3,001.85 in Singapore, India’s Sensex was 0.64 percent lower to 18,178.3 and Taiwan’s Taiex dropped 1.67 percent to 8,528.94.

New York equities markets were also lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.97 percent to 12,094.8 in midday trade while at the same time the S&P 500 had dropped 0.92 percent to 1,303.28 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.61 percent lower to 2,711.96.

Crude oil prices soared on more violence in Libya after reports that a fifth of the nation’s daily output, around 367,000 barrels per day, were shut down as oil companies began to evacuate workers and their families from the area, with fears that even more of the country’s production could go out of production soon.

At midday in New York, April contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were up $4.10 to $99.52 per barrel, while Brent crude was last reported to have added $5.49 to $111.27 per barrel in London trade.

Gold prices were $13.50 per troy ounce higher in New York trade on safe-haven buying, while copper prices were 8 cents per pound lower on concerns that demand could decline.

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