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Sunday 30th of May 2010
May 27, 2010    

Insurer Prudential sees gains on news

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by Elaine Frei
Insurer Prudential sees gains on news

European equities markets were higher Thursday after an official in China denied rumors that his country is taking a second look at its euro holdings.

The FTSE 100 was 3.12 percent higher to 5,195.17 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 2.71 percent to 9,647.25.

Insurers took three of the top five spots among gainers on the 100 as Prudential (LSE: PRU) added 6.83 percent on a report that as many as 20 percent of its UK investors will vote against a proposed takeover of American International Group’s (NYSE: AIG) Asian unit, while Aviva (LSE: AV) was up 7.14 percent and Legal & General Group (LSE: LGEN) gained 7.39 percent to lead gains in the sector.

Investment managers Man Group (LSE: EMG) added 10.68 percent to lead gains on the 100 after profits exceeded analyst expectations even though they fell for the full year, while defense technology company QinetiQ Group (LSE: QQ) turned in the best performance on the 250 as it gained 11.78 percent.

The only decline on the 100 came from the utilities sector, where United Utilities Group (LSE: UU) dropped just 0.19 percent, while Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD) led declines on the 250 and was the only loser in the mining sector as it fell 4.23 percent.

The biggest gain in the mining sector came from iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO), which was up 8.42 percent on the session.

Capital & Counties Properties (LSE: CAPC) led gains in the real estate sector, adding 8.5 percent, while SEGRO (LSE: SGRO) was 7.4 percent higher on a “buy” recommendation from Citigroup.

Food processor Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE) was down 2.19 percent on a decline of 77 percent in full-year profits.

In the energy sector, BP (LSE: BP) added 5.85 percent in a mostly higher sector as it began an attempt to cap its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, while Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) dropped 2.44 percent as the worst of only two decliners in the sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 2.89 percent to 1,000.22 while the Dax added 3.11 percent to 5,937.14, the IBEX was 3.23 percent higher to 9,334.9 and the CAC-40 gained 3.42 percent to 3,525.31.

There were no declines on either the Dax or the CAC-40, and both indices were led by banks as Deutsche Bank (FWB: DBK) added 4.59 percent in Frankfurt and Societe Generale (Euronext: GLE) gained 7.41 percent in Paris.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on hopes that the European debt crisis will not hurt the economy in the region and as worries receded concerning the proposed tax on miners in Australia will affect earnings in the sector on speculation that the government might alter how it will figure the text in a way that will be more advantageous to mining companies.

Japan’s markets saw gains after new data showing that exports there were up by 40.4 percent in April from a year earlier, and after new data from the United States that had new home sales and durable goods orders both up.

The Nikkei 225 added 1.23 percent to 9,639.72 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 1.27 percent to 869.89 and the Mothers market gained 5.07 percent to 398.11.

Shippers and traders were both higher.

In the shipping sector, Nippon Yusen KK (TYO: 9101) was up 1.6 percent while Mitsui OSK Lines (TYO: 9104) added 3 percent and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (TYO: 9107) was 4.7 percent higher on the session.

Among traders, meanwhile, Mitsubishi Corp (TYO: 8058) added 3.7 percent while Mitsui & Co (TYO: 8031) gained 4.2 percent.

Relief in the mining sector sent Australia’s markets higher, with the Sydney Ordinaries adding 1.59 percent to 4,399.1 while the S&P/ASX200 was up 1.67 percent to 4,379.2.

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) was 4.8 percent higher while BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) added 4.3 percent, iron-ore miner Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) was up 5.8 percent and Yanzhou Coal Mining Company (SEHK: 1171), which owns Felix Resources Ltd (ASX: FLX), gained 7.2 percent in Hong Kong.

Elsewhere in the region, the Taiex added 1.06 percent to 7,243.16 in Taiwan, while the Shanghai Composite was up 1.15 percent to 2,655.92, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.22 percent to 19,431.37, the Kospi was 1.6 percent higher to 1,607.5 in South Korea, Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 1.62 percent to 2,739.7 and the Sensex gained 1.7 percent to 16,666.4 in India.

New York markets were higher in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.94 percent to 10,168.41, while at the same time the S&P 500 was up 2.22 percent to 1,091.61 and the Nasdaq Composite was 2.68 percent higher to 2,254.63.

Crude oil prices were up nearly $3 per barrel in midday trade, while copper and silver prices were higher but gold was slightly lower.

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