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June 2, 2011    

Centamin Egypt leads miners lower in London

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by Elaine Frei
Centamin Egypt leads miners lower in London

European equities markets were lower again Thursday as the risk that Greece will default was raised to 50 percent by Moody’s Investors Service, which also cut it’s rating on Greece from B1 to Caa1.

The FTSE 100 was down 1.36 percent to 5,847.92 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.39 percent to 11,963 with miners lower as base metals prices dropped for a second day on concerns that demand will decline after reports from the US, the UK, the Eurozone and China that all saw growth in manufacturing slow down last month.

Centamin Egypt (LSE: CEY) was the worst performer in the mining sector as it dropped 3.8 percent, while gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) was down 3.38 percent as the biggest decliner on the 100.

The banking sector was also lower, while the energy, media and travel and leisure sectors were mostly lower and insurers, retailers, the telecommunications sector and utilities were mixed.

Although the retail sector was mixed, three of the five best performers on the 250 came from the sector, led by sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD) with a gain of 4.28 percent, which was the best performer on that index, while Serco Group (LSE: SRP) led gainers on the 100, as the government services specialist gained 4.37 percent on positive broker comment.

The chemicals sector was lower except for a 1.28 percent gain for AZ Electronic Materials (LSE: AZEM), while Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) dropped 3.27 percent as the worst performer in the sector after it missed profit estimates for the full year by nearly £50 million.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 1.23 percent to 1,117.09 while the IBEX fell 0.76 percent to 10,261, the CAC-40 was 1.89 percent lower to 3,889.87 and the Dax dropped 1.99 percent to 7,074.12, with no gainers on either the CAC-40 or the Dax.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower, hurt by US data on jobs after a private report showed that the private sector there only added 38,000 jobs last month, rather than the 175,000 or so jobs expected by analysts, while new figures also showed that manufacturing in the United States grew at its slowest pace in over a year, while factory output growth slowed in China and the Eurozone as well.

The Nikkei 225 was down 1.69 percent to 9,555.04 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was 1.63 percent lower to 825.76 and the Mothers market dropped 1.33 percent to 459.6 ahead of no-confidence vote regarding Prime Minister Naoto Kan, which he survived just after the close of trade by offering to resign from office once the crisis, brought on by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, is over.

Carmakers were lower after both General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Ford Motor (NYSE: F) said Wednesday that sales were down in May, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) down 3.6 percent after it said sales dropped by 33 percent last month, Nissan Motors (TYO: 7201) dropped 3.2 percent and Honda Motor was 2.4 percent lower after its sales were down 23 percent in May.

A stronger yen hurt the electronics sector, while the oil sector declined after crude prices fell in New York and London yesterday.

The Straits Times Index was down 0.39 percent to 3,160.6 in Singapore, India’s Sensex fell 0.62 percent to 18,494.2, the Taiex was 0.78 percent lower to 8,991.36 in Taiwan, South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.27 percent to 2,114.2, the Shanghai Composite was down 1.4 percent to 2,705.18, the Hang Seng fell 1.58 percent to 23,253.8 in Hong Kong, and Australia’s markets declined, with the Sydney Ordinaries down 2.2 percent to 4,683.2 while the S&P/ASX200 dropped 2.27 percent to 4,600.4.

New York equities markets were lower in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.5 percent to 12,228.8 while the S&P 500 had dropped 0.36 percent to 1,309.79 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.14 percent lower to 2,765.37.

Crude oil prices were lower after the US Energy Information Administration reported that crude oil inventories in the US were up by 2.9 million barrels last week against an expected decline of 1.9 million barrels, with West Texas Intermediate crude down $1.37 to $98.92 per barrel at midday in New York while Brent crude was last reported down 28 cents to $114.25 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Metals prices were lower in New York at midday, with gold down by $16.70 per troy ounce while silver had dropped by $1.72 per troy ounce.

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