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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
February 13, 2007

London markets up in slow trade

by Elaine Frei

London markets up in slow trade

The Tokyo equities markets were higher Tuesday as trade resumed after a holiday on Monday. The Nikkei 225 was 0.67 percent higher to 17,621.45, while the Topix index added 0.62 percent to 1,755.90. Most of the gains came in domestic sectors and in anticipation of what is expected to be news of strong economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2006. The real estate sector saw strong gains, as did troubled securities company Nikko Cordial (TYO: 8603; SGX: N06) as investors looked for the broker to reveal plans for improved accounting practices.

European markets were up on the session as well, but only slightly, with the FTSE Eurofirst 300 adding 0.1 percent to 1,532.64. The retail sector saw gains on rumors of bids in prospect for Carrefour (Euronext: CA), while Sanofi-Aventis (Euronext: SAN; NYSE: SNY) declined in the pharmaceuticals sector on delays in the approval of one of its drugs in the US.

London equities markets were up amid slow trade, with only 2.7 billion shares traded. The FTSE 100 added 0.4 percent to 6,381.8, while the FTSE 250 gained 0.2 percent to 11,475.7. The real estate sector declined after British Land (LSE: BLND) revealed lackluster results from its fiscal third quarter. British Energy (LSE: BGY) was also lower, on a warning that one of its nuclear power plants will be closed until April. Miners, on the other hand, saw gains after metals prices were up.

In New York, the equities markets were higher on rumors and broker comments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.7 percent by mid-afternoon to 12,639.31, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3 percent to 2,456.63 and the S&P 500 was 0.6 percent higher to 1,441.28. The automobile sector was mixed after Merrill Lynch upgraded its recommendation for General Motors (NYSE: GM) but downgraded Ford Motor (NYSE: F).

In the commodities markets, oil prices were up on upward revisions in its estimates of growth demand and reductions in its estimates of supply growth in non-OPEC nations in 2007. Gold and most base metals also saw higher prices on the session, but tin dropped from Monday’s 22-year high price.

Currency markets saw the euro and the yen strengthen, while the US dollar and sterling weakened. The euro, however, weakened versus the yen. Most of the euros strength came from a report showing that the Eurozone’s gross domestic product was up 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter and 3.3 percent for 2006 as a whole. The yen was also helped by GDP news, as many expected new numbers on Wednesday will provide the Bank of Japan with the ammunition it needs to raise interest rates.

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