Antofagasta leads miners lower

| September 21, 2011 | 0 Comments
Antofagasta leads miners lower

European equities markets were lower Wednesday as yet another round of talks failed to reach a solution for Greece’s debt crisis.

The FTSE 100 was down 1.4 percent to 5,288.41 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.41 percent to 10,266 as miners and the energy sector were lower as prices for base metals and oil declined.

Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) led declines on the 100 as the copper miner dropped 6.93 percent, while Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO), BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) and Xstrata (LSE: XTA) also ranked among the top five decliners on the index, with retreats of 4.2 percent, 3.89 percent and 3.71 percent respectively, but natural resources royalties business Anglo Pacific Group (LSE: APF) added 1.07 percent as the best of four gainers in the sector.

Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) led gains on the 100 and in a mixed banking sector as it added 5.64 percent, while declines in the sector were topped by a 1.73 percent drop for HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA).

Over on the 250, Imagination Technologies Group, which specializes in chip technology, added 5.41 percent as the best performer on the index, while online grocery retailer Ocado Group (LSE: OCDO) dropped 11.41 percent to decline most on the index.

Heritage Oil (LSE: HOIL) was the best of three gainers in the energy sector as it added 3.53 percent, while oil and natural gas explorer Afren (LSE: AFR) was the biggest decliner in the sector, dropping 6.09 percent.

Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) was down 2.64 percent on broker downgrades, with Morgan Stanley cutting its recommendation on the satellite telecommunications specialist from “equal weight” to “underweight”, while Citigroup cut its recommendation from “buy” to “hold”.

Brewer SABMiller (LSE: SAB) was down 1.62 percent after it reached a deal with Foster’s Group (ASX: FGL) to buy the Australian brewer, turning in the worst performance in the mostly lower food and beverage sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 1.84 percent to 916.99, while the CAC-40 fell 1.62 percent to 2,935.82 and saw just one gainer, the IBEX was 1.82 percent lower to 8,210.3 and the Dax dropped 2.47 percent to 5,433.8 as Deutsche Lufthansa (FWB: LHA) was down 5.04 percent on a reduced recommendation, down from “hold” to “sell”, from Deutsche Bank after the airline said it expects fuel expenses to grow to €6.4 billion this year.

Most markets were higher in Asia and the Pacific region.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.23 percent to 8,741.16 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 0.28 percent to 757.13 but the Mothers market dropped 1.5 percent to 405.34, with gains for the top indices coming on the possibility that the US Federal Reserve will take more steps to help the US economy and after a new report from the Conference Board indicated that China’s economy will continue to grow through the end of the year

Most carmakers were lower in Tokyo, but Daihatsu (TYO: 7262) added 4.9 percent after starting to sell a new fuel-efficient minicar that gets 31 km/liter (71 miles per gallon) of gasoline, although Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203), which owns 51 percent of Daihatsu, dropped 0.48 percent on the session.

The news on China’s economy helped industrial robot maker Fanuc (TYO: 6954), which gets 40 percent of its sales in Asia, add 1.35 percent.

Semiconductor-related shares were lower after a reduced analyst outlook from Nomura and on broker downgrades within the sector, with Advantest (TYO: 6857) down 2.55 percent after JPMorgan Chase reduced its recommendation on the chip-testing equipment maker from “overweight” to “neutral” and cuts its target share price, while Sumco Corp (TYO: 3436) dropped 6.13 percent after Goldman Sachs reduced its target share price for the silicon wafer manufacturer.

The Straits Times Index added 0.39 percent to 2,791.79 in Singapore, Taiwan’s Taiex was up 0.57 percent to 7,535.88, Australia’s markets were higher as the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.7 percent to 4,153.6 and the S&P/ASX200 added 0.78 percent to 4,071.8, the Kospi was up 0.89 percent to 1,854.28 and the Shanghai Composite was 2.66 percent higher to 2,512.96.

The Sensex was down 0.2 percent to 17,065.2 in India, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1 percent to 18,824.2.

New York equities markets were mixed in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.41 percent to 11,361.7 while the S&P 500 had dropped 0.51 percent to 1,195.98, but the Nasdaq Composite was 0.27 percent higher to 2,597.31.

Crude oil prices were higher in midday trade after trading lower earlier, with gains coming after the US Energy Information Administration said that crude oil stockpiles were down by 7.3 million barrels last week, much more of a drawdown than had been expected, with November contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude up 31 cents to $87.23 per barrel at just past 12:30 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was last reported up $1.59 percent to $112.13 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Gold was slightly lower at midday in New York, trading $1.80 lower at $1,807.30 per troy ounce shortly after 12:30 p.m. local time, but silver had added 25 cents to $40.39 per troy ounce and New York copper was up 4 cents to $3.77 per pound although three-month contracts dropped $9 to $8,300 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange after trading as low as $8,234.75 per tonne earlier in the session on demand concerns stemming from the ongoing debt crisis in Europe.

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