Resolution Ltd announces share buy-back, leads gains on FTSE 100

| June 7, 2011
Resolution Ltd announces share buy-back, leads gains on FTSE 100

Equities markets in Europe were slightly higher Tuesday, helped by factory orders that rose by 2.8 percent in April from March in Germany.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.03 percent to 5,864.65 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 0.1 percent to 12,008.8 as banks and the energy sector were mostly lower and the retail sector was mixed after the British Retail Consortium reported that UK retail sales were down in May, with sales in stores open at least a year down 2.1 percent over May last year after a gain of 5.2 percent in April, but the chemicals, health care, insurance and utilities sectors were mostly higher on the session.

Resolution Ltd (LSE: RSL) led gains in the insurance sector and on the 100 as it added 2.8 percent after it announced a share buy-back, while Moneysupermarket.com Group (LSE: MONY), the online financial services price comparison website, was up 5.71 percent as the best performer on the 250.

Hotel and restaurant operator Whitbread (LSE: WTB) had the worst day on the 100 and in the travel and leisure sector, dropping 1.83 percent after Barclays cut its recommendation from “overweight” to “equal weight” but pubs and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butler added 3.75 percent to lead the travel and leisure sector on a media report that a group of investors could make a cash bid, while electronics and technology group Laird (LSE: LRD) led declines on the 250 as it dropped 4.08 percent.

Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) was the worst performer in a mixed mining sector, dropping 2.3 percent on a Citigroup downgrade from “buy” to “hold” after opposition candidate Ollanta Humada won the presidency of Peru, where Hochschild mines silver.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.01 percent to 1,105.3 while the IBEX added 0.1 percent to 10,168.1, the CAC-40 was 0.22 percent higher to 3,871.92 and the Dax gained 0.26 percent to 7,103.25.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.67 percent to 9.442.95 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 0.71 percent to 813.76 and the Mothers market gained 0.73 percent to 464.3 as utilities advanced after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that the government does not support liquidation of Tokyo Electric Power (TYO: 9501), in rebuttal to the president of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, who called for the breakup of the operator of the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant yesterday, sending the utility up 4.4 percent after a 28 percent decline on Monday.

Carmakers were higher ahead of the full-year earnings outlook from Toyota (TYO: 7203), scheduled for 10 June after a delay, and on a media report that the company will raise production on its Prius wagon to 5,000 units per month by August or September, higher than its previous estimate by 2,000 units, with the carmaker adding 2.2 percent on the session, but the electronics sector saw declines.

Other gainers in the region included the Straits Times Index, which was up 0.07 percent to 3,115.95 in Singapore, while Taiwan’s Taiex added 0.12 percent to 9.057.1, India’s Sensex gained 0.41 percent to 18,495.6 and the Shanghai Composite was up 0.6 percent to 2,744.3, but Australia’s markets were lower after the Reserve Bank of Australia held interest rates steady for the sixth consecutive month, with the S&P/ASX200 down 0.06 percent to 4,566.3 while the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.16 percent to 4,641.1, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 0.35 percent lower to 22,868.7 and the Kospi was down 0.65 percent to 2,099.71.

New York markets were higher as investors hoped that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would indicate in a scheduled speech that the Fed will not raise interest rates anytime soon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.44 percent to 12,143.5 in midday trade, while the S&P 500 had added 0.42 percent to 1,291.61 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.2 percent higher to 2,708.08.

Investors were reluctant to buy oil ahead of tomorrows meeting of the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries as they waited to see whether the cartel will increase production quotas to try to bring prices down, but crude prices were mixed as July contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude had dropped 83 cents to $98.18 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but Brent crude was last up 60 cents to $115.08 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Gold prices were down by $6.30 per troy ounce at midday in New York, while silver was up 2 cents per troy ounce but copper had dropped a quarter of a cent per pound at midday in New York.

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