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Sunday 30th of May 2010
May 28, 2010    

Forth Ports lower on news investors group will not make offer

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by Elaine Frei
Forth Ports lower on news investors group will not make offer

European equities markets were mostly lower Friday on discouraging news regarding US consumer spending which put the speed of economic recovery into question.

The US Commerce Department reported that consumer spending was flat in April, the first month that spending did not increase since September.

The FTSE 100 was 0.13 percent lower to 5,188.43 in London, while the FTSE 250 was down 0.1 percent to 9,637.14.

Forth Ports (LSE: FPT) was the biggest decliner in London, falling 12.78 percent after a group of investors said it will not bid for the port operator after all.

Despite overall declines, however, BSS Group (LSE: BTSM) added 34.46 percent to lead gains on the 250 on the news that building and home improvement retailer Travis Perkins (LSE: TPK), which added 6.11 percent on the session, has bid for the heating and plumbing materials group.

Over on the 100, water utility Severn Trent (LSE: SVT) turned in the best performance on the session as it added 3.36 percent while United Utilities Group (LSE: UU), which was the only decliner on the 100 yesterday, added 2.86 percent as the utilities sector generally saw gains.

BP (LSE: BP) was the worst performer on the 100, dropping 4.99 percent after it said it will take another day or two to know if its attempt to cap a leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico will succeed, and that it has so far spent $930 million to deal with the well explosion and resulting leak.

The energy sector was mixed otherwise, with oil explorer and producer EnQuest (LSE: ENQ) seeing the biggest gain as it added 2.63 percent, while Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) turned in the worst performance in the sector, falling 10.18 percent on the 250.

Miners were also mixed, with iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) up the most as it added 4.17 percent, while Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP) put in the worst performance in the sector, dropping 3.44 percent.

London travel agents were mixed as Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) added 0.87 percent but TUI Travel (LSE: TT) dropped 0.25 percent although Nomura upgraded both from “neutral” to “buy”, while Natixis also raised its recommendation on TCG from “neutral” to “buy”.

Unilever (LSE: ULVR) added 1.63 percent after the consumer products manufacturer was upgraded from “neutral” to “buy” by UBS.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.27 percent to 997.72 while the CAC-40 fell 0.29 percent to 3,515.06, but the Dax was up 0.15 percent to 5,946.18 and the IBEX gained 0.97 percent to 9,425.5.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly higher on the session, although the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.01 percent to 2,655.77.

The Nikkei 225 added 1.28 percent to 9,762.98 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.99 percent to 878.52 and the Mothers Market also gained 0.99 percent, to 402.04.

Exporters were up on a weaker yen, with recording and data storage media manufacturer TDK (TYO: 6762) up 1.5 percent, while camera maker Canon (TYO: 7751) added 1.6 percent, PlayStation games consoles maker Sony (TYO: 6758) was 1.8 percent higher and video games manufacturer Nintendo (TYO: 7974) gained 2.8 percent.

Clothing retailers Honeys Co (TYO: 2792) and Pal Co (TYO: 2726) were higher, adding 11 percent and 12 percent respectively, after Deutsche Bank began coverage of both with “buy” recommendations.

Consumer lender Promise Co (TYO: 8574) was down 1.6 percent on a downgrade from Moody’s Investors Service.

Elsewhere in the region, the Taiex was 0.72 percent higher to 7,295.32 in Taiwan, South Korea’s Kospi added 0.95 percent to 1,622.78, the Sensex was up 1.18 percent to 16,863.06, and the Hang Seng gained 1.73 percent to 19,766.71.

The S&P/ASX200 was up 1.79 percent to 4,457.5 in Australia, while the Sydney Ordinaries added 4,479.

Singapore markets were closed in observance of Vesak Day, which observes the life, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.

New York markets were lower in early afternoon trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.15 percent to 10.141.01, the S&P 500 was down 1.1 percent to 1,090.95, and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.16 percent lower to 2,251.27.

The price of crude oil was down nearly a dollar per barrel at around 1 p.m. in New York, while metals prices were also lower although gold remained above $1,200 per troy ounce.

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