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Thursday 24th of December 2009
December 22, 2009    

Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey gain on broker upgrades

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by Elaine Frei
Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey gain on broker upgrades

European equities markets were higher Tuesday.

The FTSE 100 added 0.65 percent to 5,328.66 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 0.54 percent to 9,148.55.

Homebuilders Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) saw gains after Goldman Sachs upgraded both from “neutral” to “buy”, with Barratt adding 1.67 percent and Taylor Wimpey leading the sector with a gain of 3.96 percent.

The related real estate sector, however, was mostly lower, with retail and business property regeneration specialist St. Modwen Properties (LSE: SMP) turning the worst performance in London as it fell 7.73 percent, while residential property developer Grainger (LSE: GRI) dropped 4 percent.

Most miners saw declines, but Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD) did the best in London on the session, leading the 250 and the sector with a gain of 6.57 percent, while gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) dropped 3.72 percent for the biggest drop on the 100 and in the mining sector.

The energy sector saw gains, led by Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) which added 6.34 percent to top winners on the 100 for the second session in a row on its new exploration off the coast of Greenland.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.7 percent to 1,035.03 while the Dax added 0.26 percent to 5,945.69, the IBEX was 0.51 percent higher to 11,890.8 and the CAC-40 gained 0.68 percent to 3,898.38.

Most Asian markets were higher, but the Shanghai Composite dropped 2.32 percent to 3,050.52 amid continuing concerns that the government in China will institute controls on property speculation.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 added 1.91 percent to 10,378.03 and the Topix index was up 1.3 percent to 903.06, but the Mothers market was down 0.55 percent to 412.34.

Gains came on a weaker yen, with the electronics sector benefiting as Sony (TYO: 6758) added 2.7 percent.

The semiconductors sector was helped by accelerating chip demand, with Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) up 4.6 percent while Toshiba (TYO: 6502) gained 4.7 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, India’s Sensex added 0.55 percent to 16,692 while the Hang Seng and South Korea’s Kospi were each 0.69 percent higher, to 21,092.04 and 1,655.54 respectively.

The Taiex was up 0.88 percent to 7,856, the Straits Times Index added 1.33 percent to 2,823.82, and in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries gained 1.39 percent to 4,724.4 and the S&P/ASX200 was 1.49 percent higher to 4,704.2.

At just past 1 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.56 percent to 10.472.33, while the Nasdaq Composite had added 0.61 percent to 2,251.24 and the S&P 500 had gained 0.43 percent to 1,118.83.

The gains on Wall Street were helped by new data from the National Association of Realtors, which reported that sales of existing homes in the US were up 7.4 percent in November, aided by the extension of a tax credit for first-time buyers.

In midday commodities trade in New York, oil prices were lower while precious metals were mixed as gold prices fell but silver was slightly higher.

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