Insurer Prudential adds nearly 12 percent

| October 6, 2011
Insurer Prudential adds nearly 12 percent

European equities markets were higher Thursday after the European Central Bank and Bank of England both held interest rates steady, at 1.5 percent and at 0.5 percent respectively, while the ECB said it will restart covered-bond purchases and again offer year-long loans to banks, while the Bank of England will expand its program of bond purchases.

The FTSE 100 was up 3.71 percent to 5,291.26 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 3.35 percent to 9,888.56.

Insurer Prudential (LSE: PRU) was up 11.74 percent to lead a mostly higher insurance sector and was the top gainer on the 100, while Exillon Energy (LSE: EXI) added 22.57 as the best performer on the 250 and in the all-higher energy sector, where it was followed by an 8.2 percent gain for Essar Energy (LSE: ESSR).

Investment managers Man Group (LSE: EMG) was down 1.22 percent as the worst performer on the 100, while data centre Telecity Group (LSE: TCY) dropped 2.84 percent for the worst day on the 250.

The mining sector saw no declines, while Hochschild Mining (TYO: HOC) added 10.73 percent for the best performance in the sector, followed by iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) with a gain of 10.49 percent while Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) was up 10.21 percent and Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) was 9.69 percent higher.

The retail sector was mostly higher, led by an 8.32 percent gain for consumer electronics retailer Kesa Electricals (LSE: KESA) while auto parts retailer Halfords Group (LSE: HFD) added 8.21 percent, but five decliners in the sector were led by funeral directors Dignity (LSE: DTY), which was 1.71 percent lower.

Brewer SABMiller (LSE: SAB) added 7.02 percent on a report in the Brazilian media that it is in talks to be acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev (Euronext: ABI), although neither company would comment on the report.

EasyJet plc (LSE: EZJ) was up 4.61 percent after Credit Suisse upgraded the air carrier from “neutral” to “outperform”, and after the airline said it will open two new bases in France next year.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 2.38 percent to 938.4 while the IBEX added 2.68 percent to 8,704.8, the Dax was 3.15 percent higher to 5,645.25 and the CAC-40 gained 3.41 percent to 3,075.37.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on more optimism that there will be a solution to the European debt crisis, and on data from the US showing that an index indicating the state of the US services sector was down less than expected.

The Nikkei 225 added 1.66 percent to 8,522.02 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 1.46 percent to 736.86 and the Mothers market gained 1.51 percent to 391.71.

Chip-related shares were higher on gains for the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, with silicon wafer maker Sumco Corp (TYO: 3436) was up 5.7 percent while Dainippon Screen (TYO: 7735), which makes chipmaking equipment, was 6.2 percent higher and Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) added 6.6 percent.

Consumer electronics and entertainment conglomerate Sony (TYO: 6758) gained 4.7 percent on reports that it has secured funding from Abu Dhabi to bid on music label EMI Group.

Carmakers were also higher, with Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) up 1.6 percent while Nissan Motors (TYO; 7201) was 4.3 percent higher.

Elsewhere in the region, Taiwan’s Taiex was up 2.04 percent to 7,132 while the Kospi added 2.63 percent to 1,710.32 in South Korea, Singapore’s Straits Times Index was 2.94 percent higher to 2,603.12, Australia’s markets saw gains as the Sydney Ordinaries added 3.5 percent to 4,132.1 and the S&P/ASX200 was up 3.65 percent to 4,069.9, and the Hang Seng gained 5.67 percent to 17,172.3.

Markets in China and India were closed to observe holidays.

New York equities markets were higher in early afternoon trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.66 percent to 11,011.7, while at the same time the S&P 500 was up 0.81 percent to 1,153.32 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.94 percent higher to 2,483.61.

Crude oil prices were higher in New York and London as West Texas Intermediate crude added $1.61 to $81.29 per barrel at just before 1 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while at last report Brent crude was $1.11 higher to $103.84 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Prices for metals were also higher in New York trade, with gold adding $4.20 to $1,645.80 per troy ounce at nearly 1 p.m. local time, while silver was up $1.33 to $31.69 per troy ounce and copper gained 14 cents to $3.25 per pound in New York while three-month contracts for copper were up $405 to $7,225 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange.

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