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Sunday 07th of March 2010
March 4, 2010    

Schroders leads 100 in London

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by Elaine Frei
Schroders leads 100 in London

European equities markets were mixed Thursday as miners declined on lower copper prices but most banks managed gains on the session.

The FTSE 100 was 0.11 percent lower to 5,527.16 in London, but the FTSE 250 added 0.55 percent to 9,665.29.

Asset management group Schroders (LSE: SDR; SDRt) led gainers on the 100 as non-voting shares were up 6.39 percent and voting shares added 5.99 percent, while over on the 250 home credit business International Personal Finance (LSE: IPF) turned in the best performance in London as it gained 7.85 percent.

Most banks were higher, led by Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) with a gain of 3.8 percent, but HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) fell 0.93 percent.

Insurers were mixed as Prudential (LSE: PRU) added 2.6 percent to lead gainers in the sector, but Aviva (LSE: AV) dropped 2.61 percent for the worst performance in the sector, followed by auto insurer Admiral Group (LSE: ADM) with a decline of 2.58 percent.

Most miners were lower, with iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) down 3.39 percent to lead decliners in the sector while gold miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) fell 3.22 percent and Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) dropped 2.12 percent.

The worst performance of the session in London came from kitchen cabinet builder Galiform (LSE: GFRM), which dropped 7.85 percent on the 250, while oil services and engineering group AMEC (LSE: AMEC) fell 6.7 percent after its full-year results.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.07 percent to 1,036.29 and the IBEX added 0.76 percent to 10,745.3, but the CAC-40 dropped 0.37 percent to 3,828.41 and the Dax fell 0.39 percent to 5,795.32.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.05 percent to 10,145.72 while the Topix index was down 0.88 percent to 897.64 and the Mothers market dropped 0.04 percent to 412.57.

While data from the US was encouraging, comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel would not commit to backing financial support for Greece’s struggling economy despite European Union remarks in praise of new austerity measures passed by Greece’s cabinet.

Exporters were mostly lower as the yen strengthened, but Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) added 1.4 percent to talks toward acquiring the assets of a US-based flash memory group.

Data storage group TDK Corp (TYO: 6762) was 2.9 percent lower, while among carmakers Toyota Motor (TYO; 7203) fell 1.3 percent and Mitsubishi Motors (TYO 7211) dropped 10.61 percent after talks with Peugeot (Euronext: UG) failed to bring agreement on an alliance between the two, although conversations were set to continue.

Elsewhere, the Sensex fell 0.17 percent to 16,971.7 while the Kospi was down 0.26 percent to 1,618.2, the Straits Times Index was 0.51 percent lower to 2,768.7, the Taiex dropped 0.78 percent to 7,569.8, the Hang Seng was down 1.44 percent to 20,575.78 and the Shanghai Composite fell 2.38 percent to 3,023.37..

Australian markets, however, managed gains as the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.29 percent to 4,757.6 and the S&P/ASX200 added 0.31 percent to 4,750.5.

New York markets were barely higher in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.14 percent to 10,411.12 while the S&P 500 was up 0.06 percent to 1,119.43 and the Nasdaq Composite had gained 0.01 percent to 2,280.96.

The price of crude oil was lower in midday trade in New York but West Texas Intermediate crude remained above $80 per barrel, while metals prices were also down from Wednesday’s levels.

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