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Wednesday 23rd of June 2010
April 15, 2010    

HSBC leads London banks higher

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by Elaine Frei
HSBC leads London banks higher

European equities markets were higher Thursday as banks gained.

The FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent to 5,825.01 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 0.41 percent to 10,539.15.

HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) led London banks higher and topped the winners list on the 100 as it added 2.96 percent after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the European banking sector from “underweight” to “neutral”, while Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) was up 2.58 percent as it was named to Exane BNP’s “favorite picks” list and Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) added 2.29 percent.

The energy sector was mostly higher, led by oil and gas construction and engineering group Lamprell (LSE: LAM), which added 4.9 percent on the 250, but North Sea oil and gas exploration and production group EnQuest (LSE: ENQ) turned in the worst performance in London as it dropped 4.9 percent.

Credit information provider Experian Group (LSE: EXPN) fell most on the 100, dropping 2.91 percent after it said that revenue slowed in its second fiscal half on disappointing sales.

The best performance in London came from industrial equipment rentals company Ashtead Group (LSE: AHT), which gained 7.35 percent on the 250.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.63 percent to 1,112.31 while the IBEX added 0.17 percent to 11,523.5, the CAC-40 was 0.2 percent higher to 4,065.65 and the Dax gained 0.21 percent to 6,291.45.

Most equities markets in the Asia-Pacific region were up on the session after China reported that its economy grew by 11.9 percent in the first quarter from the same period in 2009.

Even so, the Shanghai Composite was 0.04 percent lower to 3,164.97.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.61 percent to 11,273.79 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.79 percent to 998.9 and the Mothers market gained 1.29 percent to 496.78.

Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) added 1.6 percent and Shinsei Bank Ltd (TYO: 8303) was up 8.9 percent after the Governor of the Bank of Japan said that risks of Japan’s economy returning to recession are fading.

Shippers saw gains on higher fees for carrying cargo, with Nippon Yusen (TYO: 9101) adding 2.7 percent while Kawasaki Kisen (TYO: 9107) was up 4.1 percent and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (TYO: 9104) was 5.1 percent higher.

Australia’s markets were also higher as the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.12 percent to 5,024.1 and the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.14 percent to 5,001.9.

The Hang Seng was up 0.16 percent to 22,157.82, the Kospi was 0.49 percent higher to 1,743.91 and the Taiex gained 0.92 percent to 8,171.94.

In addition to the slight decline in Shanghai, the Straits Times Index was down 0.09 percent to 3,016.94 and the Sensex dropped 1.03 percent to 17,639.26.

New York markets were mixed in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.04 percent to 11,118.2 and the S&P 500 had dropped 0.02 percent to 1,210.35, but the Nasdaq Composite was 0.23 percent higher to 2,510.53.

Wall Street was hurt by new data from the US Labor Department showing that first time unemployment claims in the US were up by 24,000 last week, the biggest weekly jump in two monts.

Also in midday trade, West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices were down slightly, but prices for Brent crude were up.

Metals prices were also mixed as copper prices fell but prices for precious metals had gone higher.

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