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January 26, 2010    

Ferrexpo leads miners lower

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by Elaine Frei
Ferrexpo leads miners lower

European equities markets saw gains Tuesday despite remaining concerns over monetary policy in China.

The FTSE 100 added 0.31 percent to 5,276.85 in London, and while the FTSE 250 was slightly lower, in only dropped 0.2 point to 9,292.92.

Miners were hurt by the continuing concerns over the tightening of monetary policy in China on the possibility that the new policies, which include increased reserve requirements for some banks, could lead to declines in demand for metals there.

The mining sector declined, led by iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) with a drop of 2.95 percent on the 250 while over on the 100, gold and silver miner Fresnel (LSE: FRES) fell 2.31 percent and Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) dropped 2.3 percent.

The best any miner could do was Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED), which traded even on the session.

Banks were mostly lower, led by a drop of 2.29 percent from Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY), but Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) led gainers on the 100 as it added 2.49 percent as Nomura raised its recommendation on the bank from “neutral” to “buy”.

Inter-dealer money broker ICAP (LSE: IAP) turned in the worst performance of the session on the 100, falling 3.75 percent.

The best results of the day came on the 250, where department store operator Debenhams added 3.56 percent, while the worst performer of the session, also on the 250, was internet gambling operator PartyGaming, with a decline of 5.35 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.36 percent to 1,022.32 while the Dax and CAC-40 each added 0.67 percent, to 5,668.92 and 3,807 respectively, and the IBEX gained 0.87 percent to 11,347.3.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region fell on the session as concerns continued regarding China’s moves to slow down its economy.

The Nikkei 225 was 1.78 percent lower to 10,325.28, its worst close in 5 weeks, while the Topix index fell 1.95 percent to 916.4 and the Mothers market was down 1.4 percent to 418.33, all after China began following previously announced rules on reserve requirements for some banks.

Exporters were especially affected as the yen strengthened.

In the electronics sector, TDK Corp. (TYO: 6762) was down 3.5 percent while Sony (TYO: 6758) dropped 4.8 percent.

Among automobile manufacturers, Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) fell 2.5 percent while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was 2.7 percent lower.

South Korea’s Kospi was down 1.97 percent to 1,637.34 while the Hang Seng fell 2.38 percent to 20,109.33 in Hong Kong, the Shanghai Composite was 2.42 percent lower to 3,019.39, the Straits Times Index was down 2.54 percent to 2,740.33 and Taiwan’s Taiex dropped 3.48 percent to 7,598.81.

Australia’s markets were closed in observance of Australia Day, while India’s markets remained shut for Republic Day.

US markets were higher at midday in New York, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 0.72 percent to 10,270.62 while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.59 percent to 2,223.88 and the S&P 500 was 0.49 percent higher to 1,102.2.

The gains on Wall Street were helped by a rise in the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which was up from 533.6 in December to 55.9 in January.

Oil prices were down in New York at midday, while metals were mixed as gold traded slightly higher but silver and copper were both lower.

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