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Thursday 03rd of March 2011
February 25, 2011    

ARM Holdings adds 6 percent to lead FTSE 100

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by Elaine Frei
ARM Holdings adds 6 percent to lead FTSE 100

European equities markets were higher Friday on positive earnings reports and on a gain in US consumer confidence even as unrest still continued in Libya as those loyal to Muammar Qadaffi reportedly opened fire on anti-government protesters after a speech from the Libyan leader in which he exhorted his followers to “defend the nation.”

The FTSE 100 added 1.37 percent to 6,001.2 in London, while the FTSE 250 was 1.75 percent higher to 11,609 after the London Stock Exchange opened four hours late following a technical breakdown related to data reporting on a new electronic system that has been in place for just two weeks, although trade continued on other exchanges.

The breakdown followed a 6.5 hour delay on Tuesday on the Borsa Italiana, also owned by the LSE.

Chipmaker ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM) led gains on the 100, adding 6.02 percent, while the biggest of only four decliners on the 100 was Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY), which dropped 4.45 percent despite its report of a pre-tax profit in the full year on a big drop in writedowns, after it said interest margins won’t get better this year.

Other London banks were up on the session, led by HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) with a gain of 2.35 percent.

Besides Lloyds, the other three decliners on the 100 were consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser (LSE: RB), which dropped 0.91 percent, International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE: IAG) with a decline of 0.71 percent and Petrofac Ltd, which provides construction and chemical engineering services to the energy industry, which was down 0.29 percent.

Miners were up on the session, led on the 100 by Lonmin (LSE: LMI) which added 4.51 percent, while Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) was up 4.06 percent and Anglo America (LSE: AAL) gained 4.04 percent.

The biggest gainer in the travel and leisure sector was car rental agent Avis Europe (LSE: AVE), which added 8.53 percent on the FTSE 250.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.17 percent to 1,159.05 while the Dax added 0.77 percent to 7,185.17, the CAC-40 was 1.51 percent higher to 4,070.38 and the IBEX gained 1.64 percent to 10,822.7.

Markets in Asia and the Pacific were higher after several days of declines after investors gained confidence on yesterday’s statement by the International Energy Agency that it would release its stockpiles to compensate for lost oil production in Libya.

The only major exception was the Shanghai Composite, which fell just 0.04 of a point to 2,878.56.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.71 percent to 10,526.8 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.83 percent to 941.93 and the Mothers market gained 2.24 percent to 486.89, although the Nikkei was still down 2.9 percent on the week while the Topix ended the week 3.3 percent lower than where it started.

Exporters were helped by a weaker yen, with carmakers also benefiting from positive comment from brokers.

Nissan Motors (TYO: 7201) and Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) both saw their ratings raised from “neutral” to “outperform” by Credit Suisse, adding 0.7 percent and 2.2 percent respectively, while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was up 1.9 percent after it had its recommendation raised by Citigroup.

Consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) was 1.2 percent higher, while video game manufacturer Nintendo (TYO: 7974) gained 3.5 percent.

Banks saw gains after consumer prices in Japan were down just 0.2 percent, less of a decline than expected, and after the US Labor Department said that there were fewer new unemployment claims filed last week in the United States.

Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) each added 0.7 percent, while Mizuho Financial Group (TYO: 8411) was up 1.9 percent.

The Sensex added 0.39 percent to 17,700.9 in India, while Australia’s markets were higher as the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.49 percent to 4,924.9 and the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.57 percent to 4,836.5.

Taiwan’s Taiex was 0.68 percent higher to 8,599.65, the Kospi added 0.69 percent to 1,963.43 in South Korea, the Straits Times Index was up 1.75 percent to 3,025.16 in Singapore and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.82 percent to 23,012.4.

New York equities markets were up in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 0.48 percent to 12,126 at just before 1 p.m. local time, while at the same time the S&P 500 was up 0.89 percent to 1,317.76 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.35 percent higher to 2,774.83.

Crude oil prices were up, but only slightly, as West Texas Intermediate crude added 32 cents to $97.60 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was last reported 33 cents higher to $111.69 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Saudi Arabia is reported to have upped its crude output by 8 percent to make up for a shutdown of almost all oil exports from Libya, although the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has not officially increased its production quotas and does not have a meeting of its member nations, which includes Saudi Arabia, scheduled until June.

Metals prices were mixed as both gold and silver lost ground in New York trade but copper had added 10 cents to $4.44 per pound.

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