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December 24, 2009    

Fresnillo leads miners higher in London

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by Elaine Frei
Fresnillo leads miners higher in London

European equities markets were higher Thursday, although some markets, including the Dax in Frankfurt and the IBEX in Madrid, were closed for the beginning of the Christmas holiday.

In a shortened session in London, the FTSE 100 added 0.56 percent to 5,402.41, its highest close in 15 months, while the FTSE 250 gained 0.19 percent to 9,211.95.

Most miners were higher on the session, with gold and silver miner Fresnillo leading both the 100 and the mining sector with a gain of 6.08 percent, while Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP) added 4.36 percent.

Only two miners saw declines, as Lonmin (LSE: LMI) and Talvivaara Mining Company (LSE: TALV) each dropped 0.27 percent on the session.

Meanwhile, over on the 250, Spirax-Sarco Engineering (LSE: SPX), which makes boiler and pipeline control valves, added 8.63 percent for the best performance in London.

BlueBay Asset Management (LSE: BBAY) turned in the worst performance of the day in London as it fell 3.82 percent on the 250, while the biggest decliner on the 100 came from the insurance sector as RSA Insurance Group (LSE: RSA) dropped 1.49 percent.

London markets will reopen after the Christmas holiday on Tuesday, 29 December.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.12 percent to 1,038.56, while the CAC-40 was up 0.05 percent to 3,912.73 in light trade.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly higher, although the Straits Times Index was 0.14 percent lower to 2,837.7.

The Nikkei 225 added 1.53 percent to 10,536.92 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 1.18 percent to 913.72 and the Mothers market of small and mid-caps gained 0.15 percent to 412.96.

Japan Tobacco (TYO: 2914) added 5.2 percent after it said it will hike prices by a larger amount than a new hike in taxes on its products.

Carmakers were also higher, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) up 2.4 percent while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) gained 1 percent on the session.

Shares related to semiconductors were up, with Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) up 4.4 percent and chip-testing equipment maker Advantest (TYO: 6857) adding 5.1 percent, while others in the technology sector were also higher, as Sony (TYO: 6758) gained 1.3 percent and Canon (TYO: 7751) was up 6.1 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, the Hang Seng was up 0.88 percent to 21,517 while the Sensex added 0.75 percent to 17,360.61 and the Taiex was 0.79 percent higher to 7,963.54.

The Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.99 percent to 4,803.3 in Australia, while the S&P/ASX200 was up 1.09 percent to 4,790.9.

The Kospi was 1.26 percent higher to 1,682.34 while the Shanghai Composite gained 2.59 percent to 3,153.41.

In light trade just a few minutes before a shortened trading day in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were each 0.44 percent higher, to 10,512.99 and 1,125.52 respectively, while the Nasdaq Compsoite was up 0.57 percent to 2,282.56.

Helping gains was a new report from the Labor Department which showed that there were 28,000 fewer new claims for jobless benefits in the United States last week.

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