ITV gains 3.58 percent to lead gains on FTSE 100
European equities markets were lower to end the week on Friday, with trade hurt by a report from the US Commerce Department which showed that the US economy grew by 1 percent in the second quarter over the same period last year, less of an advance than expected, while the latest Thomson Reuters/ University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment showed that index at 55.7 in August, down from 63.7 in July.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.02 percent to 5.129.92 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.24 percent to 9,997.1 as broadcaster ITV (LSE: ITV) led gains on the 100 while banks were the biggest decliners on that index.
ITV added 3.58 percent as the best performer on the 100, while at the same time property investor Hansteen Holdings (LSE: HSTN) led gains in the mostly lower real estate sector and on the 250 as it added 6 percent, with St. Modwen Properties (LSE: SMP) had the worst day among developers and investors with a decline of 2.65 percent.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS) led declines in the London banking sector and on the 100 as it dropped 5.2 percent, followed by Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY), which was down 4.11 percent.
Exillon Energy (LSE: EXI) was the worst performer in the energy sector and on the 250 as it dropped 5.4 percent, while another oil explorer, SOCO International (LSE: SIA) turned in the best performance in the sector as it added 3.08 percent.
Still in the energy sector, engineering group Amec (LSE: AMEC), which specializes in projects related to the energy industry, was down 3.03 percent after Societe Generale downgraded the company’s shares from “buy” to “hold”.
In the retail sector, online grocery merchant Ocado Group (LSE: OCDO) dropped 4.05 percent to lead declines in the sector, while DIY retailer Kingfisher (LSE: KGF) added 0.18 percent as the best performer among four gainers in the retail sector.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.71 percent to 918.47, while the Dax fell 0.84 percent to 5,537.48, the CAC-40 was 1.01 percent lower to 3,087.64 and the IBEX dropped 1.37 percent to 8,185.5.
Markets in Asia and the Pacific region were mixed Friday, with Tokyo’s markets seeing gains after Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he will resign, fulfilling a promise he made to do so in return for escaping a no-confidence vote after the March earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.
Tokyo’s markets were also helped by the possibility that US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will not announce any new programs to help the US economy in a speech later today and on the chance that the yen will weaken, as the Nikkei 225 added 0.29 percent to 8,797.78, while the Topix index was up 0.57 percent to 756.07 and the Mothers market gained 0.78 percent to 433.37.
Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) was up 17.6 percent, mostly due to an increase in the price of dynamic random-access memory chips.
Other gainers in the region included Taiwan’s Taiex, which was up 0.46 percent to 7,445.1, while the Kospi added 0.81 percent to 1,778.95 in South Korea.
On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.12 percent to 2,612.19, Australia’s markets dropped as the Sydney Ordinaries fell 0.22 percent to 4,271 and the S&P/ASX200 was 0.3 percent lower to 4,200, the Straits Times Index dropped 0.63 percent to 2,748.18 in Singapore, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.86 percent to 19,582.9 and the Sensex was 1.84 percent lower to 15,848.8 in India.
New York equities markets were higher in midday trade after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the US economy is headed for growth in the long-term and reiterated the willingness of the Fed to take action if another recession appeared imminent but announced no new stimulus measures in his much-anticipated speech at a meeting in Wyoming.
At just past 12:30 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.33 percent to 11,297.9 while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 1.52 percent to 1,176.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was 2.31 percent higher to 2,475.61.
Crude oil prices were mixed at midday in New York, with West Texas Intermediate down 45 cents to $84.85 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was recently reported up 37 cents to $110.99 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Metals were mixed in midday trade in New York as gold resumed its upward movement, adding $22.30 to $1,785.50 per troy ounce but silver dropped 12 cents to $40.68 per troy ounce, while New York copper added 2 cents to $4.12 per pound and three-month contracts were $36 higher to $9,066 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange.