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Wednesday 16th of June 2010
June 14, 2010    

Weir Group adds 12 percent to lead London shares

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by Elaine Frei
Weir Group adds 12 percent to lead London shares

European equities markets saw gains after new figures from the European Union’s office of statistics showed that Eurozone industrial production was up 0.8 percent in April from March, more of a gain than had been anticipated, while factory output was 9.5 percent higher than it was in April 2009.

The FTSE 100 was 0.74 percent higher to 5,202.13 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 1.37 percent to 9,795.41.

All five of the biggest gainers on the 250 came from the industrial goods and services sector, including London’s best performer of the day, Weir Group (LSE: WEIR), which added 12.15 percent after the manufacturer of pumps for miners and the oil industry said its second half profits will be up significantly from last year and also announced that it will buy the Kuala Lumpur-based Linatex group of companies for just under $200 million dollars cash.

Following Weir on the 250’s winners list were materials technology firm Cookson Group (LSE: CKSN), which was up 6.03 percent while industrial belting manufacturer Fenner (LSE: FENR) was 5.92 percent higher, energy efficiency products provider Eaga (LSE: EAGA) added 5.73 percent and carbon and ceramics products manufacturer Morgan Crucible (LSE: MGCR) gained 5.62 percent.

Miners took the top three spots on the 100’s list of gainers, led by gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES), which was up 5.05 percent in an all-higher mining sector, while InterContinental Hotels Group (LSE: IHG) led a mostly higher travel and leisure sector as it added 3.64 percent and Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) was the best performer in an all-higher banking sector, gaining 3.61 percent on the session.

BP (LSE: BP) led decliners on the 100 and in London, dropping another 9.3 percent in an otherwise mostly higher energy sector on speculation that it could lose control of its US oil and gas wells and be prevented from doing business with the US government as a consequence of the spill at one of its wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

Over on the 250, the three biggest decliners were all from the real estate sector, led by student housing developer and manager Unite Group (LSE: UTG), which was down 2.98 percent, while Capital & Counties Properties (LSE: CAPC) fell 2.96 percent and residential property group Grainger (LSE: GRI) dropped 2.61 percent.

Most retailers were up on the session, but bookseller WH Smith (LSE: SMWH) was 1.7 percent lower on the 250 and three of the five biggest decliners on the 100 were from the sector, led by grocer Wm Morrison (LSE: MRW), which was 1.53 percent lower.

Asia-Pacific equities markets were higher after a survey late last week showed that US consumer confidence improved more than expected this month, raising hopes that US buyers will purchase more goods from the region.

The Nikkei 225 added 1.8 percent to 9,879.85 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 1.4 percent to 878.56 and the Mothers market gained 1.08 percent to 4.24.74.

Consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758), which gets 21 percent of its revenues from the US, was up 1.8 percent while Panasonic (TYO: 6752) added 3.2 percent.

Carmakers also advanced, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) up 1.2 percent while Nissan Motor (TYO: 7201) added 2.4 percent and Honda Motor (TYO: 7267), which makes over 40 percent of its sales in North America, gained 4 percent after making headway toward settling a strike at one of its parts suppliers in China.

Shares related to semiconductors were higher as Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) added 1.3 percent while chip-testing equipment maker Advantest (TYO: 6857) was up 2.1 percent, Toshiba (TYO: 6502) was 2.2 percent higher and Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) gained 2.5 percent.

There were gains in the real estate sector as Mitsubishi Estate (TYO: 8802) added 2.2 percent and Tokyu Land Corp (TYO: 8815) gained 5.2 percent after Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on both property groups from “neutral” to “outperform”.

Elsewhere in the region, the Straits Times Index was up 0.78 percent to 2,818.07 in Singapore, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.9 percent to 20,051.91, the Kospi was up 0.91 percent to 1,690.6 in South Korea, Taiwan’s Taiex was 1.2 percent higher to 7,387.4 and the Sensex gained 1.6 percent to 17,338.17 in India.

Australian markets were closed in observance of the Queen’s Official Birthday, while China’s markets will be closed through Wednesday in celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival.

New York markets were helped higher by the new data on factory output from the Eurozone, while the Nasdaq gained on good news in the semiconductors sector.

At just past 1 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 0.68 percent to 10,280.68, while at the same time the S&P 500 was up 0.69 percent to 1,099.08 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1 percent higher to 2,266.02.

The price of crude oil was higher, with West Texas Intermediate crude trading at just above $75 per barrel in early afternoon trade.

In the metals markets, silver and copper prices were up in New York trade, but gold had dropped more than $8 per troy ounce at just before 1 p.m. local time.

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