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Monday 15th of March 2010
March 12, 2010    

BSkyB adds 5 percent on News Corp bid rumors

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by Elaine Frei
BSkyB adds 5 percent on News Corp bid rumors

Most European equities markets were higher Friday, although the CAC-40 was 0.04 percent lower to 3,927.4 in Paris.

The FTSE 100 added 0.15 percent to 5,625.65 in London, while the FTSE 250 gained 0.88 percent to 9,941.56.

British Sky Broadcasting Group led gainers on the 100, adding 5 percent on rumors that News Corp (NYSE: NWS) could be getting ready to bid on the approximately 61 percent of BSkyB’s shares that it does not already own.

Over on the 250, Intermediate Capital Group (LSE: ICP) added 5.45 percent for the best performance in London on the session, while the biggest loser of the day, bill-pay system Paypoint (LSE: PAY) led decliners on the 250 as it dropped 4.51 percent.

Buyouts and restructuring specialist Resolution (LSE: RSL) turned in the worst performance on the 100, falling 1.56 percent.

Most banks were higher, led by Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) with a gain of 4.98 percent, but HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) fell 1.53 percent after Goldman Sachs took the bank off its “conviction-buy” list and reduced its recommendation to “neutral”.

Miners were also mostly higher, led by Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC), which gained 4.55 percent as only BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) and Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) declined in the sector, falling 0.09 percent and 0.87 percent respectively.

Homebuilders were generally higher, led by Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW), which gained 4.8 percent on the session.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.28 percent to 1,058.98 while the Dax added 0.28 percent as well, to 5,945.11 and the IBEX gained 0.29 percent to 11,077.

Asia-Pacific region equities markets were mixed Friday.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.81 percent to 10,751.26 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.64 percent to 936.38 and the Mothers market gained 1.61 percent to 423.53.

Carmakers gained after Mitsubishi UFJ Securities upgraded their recommendation on Nissan Motor (TYO: 7201) to “strong outperform”.

Nissan was up 2.4 percent while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) added 0.9 percent and Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) gained 0.4 percent on the session.

Banks also saw gains as rumors persisted that the Bank of Japan will further loosen monetary policy in order to fight deflation.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) was up 1.7 percent while Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) added 1.3 percent.

Other gainers in the region included Australia’s markets, where the S&P/ASX200 was 0.08 percent higher to 4,818.1 and the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.12 percent to 4,,831.5, while in Singapore the Straits Times Index was up 0.26 percent to 2,881.36 and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.37 percent to 1,662.74.

The Sensex was down 0.01 percent to 17,166.62 in India, while Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.02 percent to 7,748.33, the Hang Seng was 0.09 percent lower to 21,209.74 and the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.24 percent to 3,013.41.

Wall Street was down slightly in midday trade amid mixed reports which showed US retail sales higher in February but a Reuters/University of Michigan survey said that consumer sentiment is down in March.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales in the US were up 0.3 percent last month despite an expected decline, adding 0.8 percent during the month when auto and truck sales are excluded from the figures.

Motor vehicle sales dropped 2 percent in February, but department store sales added 2 percent.

At midday in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down just a fraction of a point to 10,611.77 while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite each dropped 0.07 percent, to 1,149.38 and 2,366.91 respectively.

Prices for crude oil and metals were also lower at midday.

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