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Wednesday 20th of August 2008
February 26, 2007

Tokyo, European equities markets see gains

by Elaine Frei

Tokyo, European equities markets see gains

In Tokyo on Monday the Topix index added 0.1 percent to 1,816.97, it highest close in 15 years. The Nikkei 225 also reached a multi-year high, gaining 0.2 percent to 18,215.35. However, gains for small and mid-cap stocks reversed, sending the Mothers market down 2.1 percent on the session to 1,164.07. The electronics sector was mixed, while banks and real estate also declined after gains following last week’s interest rate hike by the Bank of Japan.

European equities indices showed gains on advances in the oil sector and insurance. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was 0.4 percent higher to 1,550.4, its highest close since December 2000, after going as high as 1,552.5 during the session. In Frankfurt, the Xetra Dax added 0.5 percent to 7,027, while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.8 percent to 5,762.54.

The London equities markets were higher as well, with the FTSE 100 up 0.5 percent to 6,434.7 and the FTSE 250 adding 0.1 percent to 11,612.4. The 100 conducts it quarterly review next week, and any company ranked 110 or below at next Tuesday’s close will be removed from the index. In the energy sector, Drax Group (LSE: DRX) and Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) are currently just below the cut-off point, while Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) and asset management company Schroders (LSE: SDR) poised to take their places on the index.

Wall Street made no progress on Monday morning. Midway through the session both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were steady, at 12,647.40 and 1,452.10 respectively. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite was 0.3 percent lower to 2,508.19. The chemicals sector was higher, as was pharmaceuticals. The financial sector was lower, however.

Crude oil prices were slightly lower after gains early in the day on continued tensions over the Iranian nuclear program. Prices for both precious and base metals were higher, however. Even though gold followed oil lower late in the day, it was still $1 higher on the session.

The US dollar weakened in currency markets, but analysts were divided over why the greenback was lower. Some attributed the declines to worries over the Iran situation, but others put the weakness to concern over the subprime mortgage market in the US. The yen strengthened.

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