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Tuesday 11th of May 2010
May 7, 2010    

Petropavlovsk leads miners as few shares gain in London

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by Elaine Frei
Petropavlovsk leads miners as few shares gain in London

A number of concerns sent European equities markets lower Friday, including an inconclusive outcome to UK elections, big declines in New York markets yesterday, and continuing concerns about European debt.

There were worries that faults in the technology used in computerized trade in the United States was at least part of the reason for the massive drop in US shares Thursday afternoon, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by nearly 1,000 points before recovering most of the loss so that instead of ending the session having dropped 9.2 percent, the Dow closed down just over 3 percent.

The FTSE 100 was 2.62 percent lower to 5,123.02 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 4.15 percent to 9,491.89, with only four winners on each index.

Most miners were lower on the session, but gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) added 3.7 percent to lead both the sector and winners in London, while base metal and coal miner Xstrata (LSE: XTA) led gains on the 100 with a gain of 1.48 percent.

Other miners seeing gains included Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS), which added 0.99 percent while Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) was up 0.69 percent and Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) was 0.64 percent higher.

Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD) was the biggest decliner among miners as it dropped 9.89 percent on the 250.

Most banks were lower, but HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) managed to add 0.19 percent after it said profits are ahead of last years levels and that its US unit saw its first profit in three years.

Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) was down 5.66 percent after profits from its investment unit fell 58 percent in the first quarter, while Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) led declines in the sector, dropping 5.97 percent even though its investment unit saw profits rise 6.2 percent in the same quarter.

Homebuilders were down on a drop of 0.1 percent in UK home prices in April over March to an average £168.202, with Redrow (LSE: RDW) the biggest loser in the sector as it dropped 10.53 percent, followed by an 8.94 percent decline for Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW).

Some of the biggest declines in London came in the travel and leisure sector, where pubs operator Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) fell 12.82 percent on the 250 for the worst performance of the day in London, while Enteriprise Inns (LSE: ETI) dropped 11.01 percent.

Over on the 100, travel agent Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) was down 7.15 percent while British Airways (LSE: BAY) fell 6.06 percent.

The biggest decline on the 100 came from building materials group Wolseley (LSE: WOS), which was down 8.14 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 3.71 percent to 969.32 while the Dax fell 3.27 percent to 5,715.09, the IBEX was 3.28 percent lower to 9,046.1 and the CAC-40 dropped 3.91 percent to 3,417.13.

There were no winners on the CAC-40, and its biggest decliners came in the banking sector, while the Dax had just one winner as Commerabank (FWB: CBK) added 0.96 percent.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region fell Friday, in reaction to huge declines on Thursday afternoon in New York.

The Nikkei 225 was down 3.1 percent to 10,364.59, a two-month closing low, while the Topix index fell 2.61 percent to 931.74 and the Mothers market dropped 3.87 percent to 471.36.

The stronger yen and worries over European sales hurt exporters.

Camera-maker Canon (TYO: 7751), which counts Europe as its largest market, was down 3.9 percent, while consumer electronics manufacturer Panasonic (TYO: 6752), getting 12 percent of its revenue from Europe, dropped 2.46 percent.

Among carmakers, Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was down 2.57 percent while Mazda Motor (TYO: 7261), which saw 21 percent of its sales in the quarter ending in March come from Europe, was down 3 percent.

In the retail sector, Fast Retailing was down 5.98 percent after it reported that same-store sales for stores open at least a year in its Uniqlo clothing chain dropped 12.3 percent in April from the same month last year.

Elsewhere in the region, Taiwan’s Taiex was down 0.16 percent to 7,567.1 while the Straits Times Index fell 0.65 percent to 2,821.11 in Singapore, the Hang Seng was 1.06 percent lower to 19,920.29 in Hong Kong, and the Sensex dropped 1.29 percent to 16.769.11 in India.

The Shanghai Composite was down 1.87 percent to 2,688.38, brining the week’s losses there to 6.3 percent as airlines declined on concerns that economic conditions might cut demand for flights.

Air China (SSE: 601111) fell 4.7 percent while China Southern Airlines (SSE: 600029) dropped 5.6 percent.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries fell 1.98 percent to 4,507.4 and the S&P/ASX200 was 2.02 percent lower to 4,480.7, its lowest in eight months, while South Korea’s Kospi dropped 2.21 percent to 1,647.5.,

After big declines and a recover yesterday that many hoped could be blamed on technology rather than on other factors, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.49 percent to 10,468.71 at just before 1 p.m. in New York, while the S&P 500 was 0.48 percent lower to 1,122.74 and the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 1.06 percent to 2,294.95.

Crude oil prices were lower again, with West Texas Intermediate crude trading at just over $75 per barrel in New York, but metals prices were higher at midday.

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