Randgold Resources leads just four gainers on FTSE 100
Equities markets were significantly lower in Europe Thursday on expanding concerns that the economic recovery is slowing globally.
The Bank of England and the European Central Bank both held interest rates steady, at 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, while ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said that the ECB has started buying bonds again.
The FTSE 100 was down 3.43 percent to 5,393.14 and saw just four gainers on the session in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 3.86 percent to 10,570.6 with four sectors – banks, chemicals, home builders and utilities – seeing no gainers at all, while miners, the energy sector, insurers, the media sector and telecoms all had just one winner each.
The only gainer among miners, Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS), led the four gainers on the 100 as it added 6.57 percent after it said earnings have tripled on soaring gold prices, while F&C Asset Management (LSE: FCAM) was the best performer on the 250, gaining 4.92 percent and leading just eight gainers in the large financial services sector
The other three gainers on the 100 included food, beverage and personal care products manufacturer Unilever (LSE: ULVR) added 2.73 percent on first-half net income that exceeded expectations, while Imperial Tobacco Group (LSE: IMT) was up 1.25 percent and beverage can manufacturer Rexam (LSE: REX) was up just 0.14 percent.
Satellite telecommunications specialist Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) turned in the worst performance in the telecommunications sector and on the 100, falling 19.31 percent on a reduced growth outlook, while Misys (LSE: MSY) was down the most on the 250 as it dropped 18.65 percent after US-based Fidelity National Information Services (NYSE: FIS) said it will not bid for the software specialist.
There were just two gainers each in the food and beverage, real estate, retail and travel and leisure sectors, while 11 companies listed in the travel and leisure sector seeing declines of 4 percent or more, including a 12.5 percent drop for Spirit Pub Company (LSE: SPRT), newly demerged from Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB).
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 3.15 percent to 995.12 while the Dax fell 3.4 percent to 6,414.76, the IBEX was 3.89 percent lower to 8,686.5 and the CAC-40 dropped 3.9 percent to 3,320.35.
There were no gainers on the Dax, the CAC-40 or the IBEX.
Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower again on concerns that the US economy is slowing and that this will hurt the global economy.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 managed to add 0.23 percent to 9,659.18 after the Bank of Japan held interest rates at zero and expanded its program of asset purchases, and after the yen weakened as the government intervened and sold the currency, but the Topix index was down 0.05 percent to 826.36 and the Mothers market dropped 0.91 percent to 449.73.
Exporters were helped by the weaker yen, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) up 0.6 percent while game console maker Nintendo (TYO: 7974) was up 1.1 percent and Konami Corp (TYO: 9766), game developer, added 5.1 percent after it said its net income more than tripled in the April through June quarter over the same period last year.
Hitachi Ltd (TYO: 6501) added 1.7 percent on media reports that it is in talks with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (TYO: 7011) toward merging some of their business, but both companies denied the reports.
Oil companies were lower after oil prices declined on Wednesday, with Japan Petroleum Exploration (TYO: 1662) down 1.6 percent while Inpex (TYO: 1605) dropped 2.1 percent.
Also higher on the session was the Shanghai Composite, which added 0.21 percent to 2,684.04, but other markets were lower as the Hang Seng was down 0.49 percent to 21,844.7 in Hong Kong, Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.75 percent to 3,107.01, Australia’s markets were down as the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 1.26 percent to 4,352.9 and the S&P/ASX200 was 1.3 percent lower to 4,276.5, the Sensex was down 1.38 percent to 17,693.2 in India, Taiwan’s Taiex dropped 1.65 percent to 8,317.27 and the Kospi was 2.31 percent lower to 2,018.47 in South Korea.
New York equities markets were also substantially lower in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2.16 percent to 11,639, the S&P 500 dropped 2.36 percent to 1,230.64 and the Nasdaq Composite was 2.37 percent lower to 2,629.32.
Prices for crude oil were down more than $4 per barrel in both New York and London trade, with New York prices dropping below $90 per barrel and London prices below $110 per barrel on a stronger US dollar and on concerns about debt in Europe and the slowdown in the US economy that raised worries that demand will decline more.
Gold prices were up earlier but had dropped $20.90 to $1,645.40 per troy ounce by midday in New York as investors sold their holdings to cover losses in equities and other markets, while silver was down by $2.57 per troy ounce to below $40 per troy ounce and copper was 9 cents lower to $4.24 per pound in New York trade.