London markets mixed on low trade volumes

| December 21, 2006 | 0 Comments

The London equities markets were mixed on the last full trading day before Christmas, with the FTSE 100 0.2 percent lower to 6,183.7 but the FTSE 250 adding 0.2 percent to 11,066.4. Volume was light, with around 2 billion shares trading hands.

Miners were hurt by dropping copper prices. Vedanta Resources dropped 16p to £11.77. Antofagasta fell 2.2 percent to 496½p, while Rio Tinto was 2.5 percent lower to £26.65 and Kazakhmys dropped 3.7 percent to £10.89.

British Energy fell 3.3 percent to 520½p after it said on Wednesday that two of its nuclear power stations will not be back in service until March. Citigroup reduced its rating on the company to “sell” and assigned a target share price of 430p. Elsewhere in the energy sector, Burren Energy dropped 5 percent to 840p after investors worried that the death of the president of Turkmenistan will put its interests there in jeopardy. Burren currently produces about 18,000 barrels of oil per day from its field there.

Smith & Nephew added 3.4 percent to 537¼p, its highest share price in nine months, on rumors that the group of private equity buyers that recent purchased US rival Biomet were also interested in bidding for S&N.

In the leisure sector, cruise ship operator Carnival was up 2.9 percent to £25.36 on a fourth quarter report that rose above what had been expected.

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