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Wednesday 10th of February 2010
February 8, 2010    

Legal & General leads declines among insurers

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by Elaine Frei
Legal & General leads declines among insurers

Most European equities markets were higher Monday after last week’s declines on concerns about the economies of several nations in the region.

The FTSE 100 added 0.62 percent to 5,092.33 in London, but the FTSE 250 was down 0.28 percent to 9,010.37.

Insurers were mixed, with Legal & General Group (LSE: LGEN) leading declines in the sector and on the 100 with a drop of 3.52 percent, while Aviva (LSE: AV) was down 2.57 percent and Prudential (LSE: PRU) fell 2.44 percent.

Inter-dealer money brokers saw gains on the day as Tullett Prebon (LSE: TLPR) added 3.82 percent on the 250 and ICAP (LSE: IAP) gained 3.3 percent on the 100.

The three biggest gainers on the 100 all came from the mining sector, led by Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) with a gain of 6.44 percent and followed by Fresnillo (LSE: FRES), which added 5.3 percent while Xstrata (LSE: XTA) was up 3.56 percent.

The best performer on the 250 was Ecofin Water & Power Opportunities (LSE: ECW), as the investment trust specializing in utilities added 6.02 percent, while the biggest loser on the 250 and in London was vehicle rental agent Northgate (LSE: NTG) with a decline of 7.19 percent.

Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) was down 2.31 percent in a mostly lower banking sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.78 percent to 979.72 while the Dax added 0.93 percent to 5,484.85, the IBEX was 1.02 percent higher to 10,206.3 and the CAC-40 gained 1.22 percent to 3,607.27.

Asian markets were mixed on the session.

The Nikkei 225 was down 1.05 percent to 9,951.82 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 0.98 percent to 883.01 and the Mothers market dropped 2.58 percent to 387.35.

Plasma television manufacturer Panasonic (TYO: 6752) was 5.3 percent lower after it said it had a net loss of ¥14.6 billion in the nine months ending 31 December 2009 after having profits of ¥65.4 billion in the same period in 2008.

Computer maker Casio (TYO: 6952) also fell 5.3 percent on its prediction that it will lose ¥22 billion for the full year, much more than its previous forecast of a ¥7 billion dollar loss.

Other decliners in the region included the Shanghai Composite, which was down 0.14 percent to 2,935.17 while the Hang Seng fell 0.58 percent to 19,550.89 in Hong Kong and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.91 percent to 1,552.79.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.14 percent to 4,538.8 while the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.16 percent to 4,521.4, with gains coming after a government announcement that it will not longer guarantee large deposits, one of the moves it had made to prop up the economy during the recession.

Also gaining on the session were Taiwan’s Taiex, which was 0.04 percent higher to 7,215.88 while the Sensex added 0.13 percent to 15,935.61 in India and the Straits Times Index gained 0.37 percnet to 2,693.62.

Wall Street was mixed as investors continued to worry about debt in some European economies, moves by China to slow growth in its economy, and by proposed restrictions on trading by big banks in the United States.

In midday trade in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.03 percent to 10,009.44, but the S&P had added 0.33 percent to 1,069.66 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.45 percent to 2,150.81.

Also at midday in New York, prices for crude oil and metals were higher.

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