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Friday 02nd of July 2010
June 30, 2010    

Drugmaker AstraZeneca leads gains in London

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by Elaine Frei
Drugmaker AstraZeneca leads gains in London

European equities markets were mostly higher Wednesday, but gains were limited by a report from ADP Employer Services said that the US added fewer new jobs in the private sector in June than had been expected, with a gain of only 13,000 new jobs, many fewer then the 60,000 that had been anticipated.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.05 percent to 4,916.87 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up just 0.01 percent to 9.366.12.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) led gains on the 100, adding 7.53 percent after a US court ruled that less expensive generic versions of the cholesterol drug Crestor, which it markets, cannot be sold in the US until 2016.

Support services specialist Connaught (LSE: CNT) was the best performer on the 250, adding 7.28 percent after three days of major declines after a warning on profits led brokers to lower their recommendations on the company.

Investment managers Man Group (LSE: EMG) dropped 7.26 percent for the biggest decline on the 100, while homebuilder Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) fell 7.17 percent as it turned in the worst performance of the session on the 250.

BP (LSE: BP) led gains in a mixed energy sector, adding 5.3 percent on the session as investors looked for bargains, but the troubled oil company remained down 52 percent since an oil spill from one of its wells began in April.

Miners were also mixed as Talvivaara Mining Company (LSE: TALV) led gainers, adding 3.6 percent while Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP) dropped 4.15 percent for the worst performance in the sector.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.28 percent to 993.04 but the Dax added 0.23 percent to 5,965.52, the CAC-40 was 0.29 percent higher to 3,442.89 and the IBEX gained 1.12 percent to 9,263.4.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower again on the session on yesterday‘s report that consumer confidence is down in the United States, although the Straits Times Index managed a gain of 0.18 percent to 2,835.51 in Singapore and India’s Sensex added 0.95 percent to 17,700.9

The Nikkei 225 was down 1.96 percent to 9,382.64 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 1.26 percent to 841.42 but the Mothers market added 1.12 percent to 387.7.

Exporters were generally lower as the yen strengthened, as Nissan Motor (TYO: 7201) fell 0.5 percent and Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) dropped 1.9 percent, and camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) was also 1.9 percent lower.

Trader Mitsubishi Corporation (TYO: 8058) was down 2 percent as commodities prices declined.

Shares related to the semiconductors sector were also lower as Sumco Corporation (TYO: 3436) fell 1.9 percent, Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) was down 3.1 percent and Shin-Etsu (TYO: 4063) dropped 4 percent after Mizuho Securities downgraded the silicon wafer manufacturer from “outperform” to “neutral”.

In the pharmaceuticals sector, however, Shionogi & Co (TYO: 4507) added 7.2 percent after a judicial ruling in the US will make it more difficult for other companies to sell less expensive versions of the cholesterol drug it developed.

Elsewhere in the region, South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.55 percent to 1,698.29 while the Hang Seng was 0.59 percent lower to 20,128.99 in Hong Kong.

The S&P/ASX200 fell 1.02 percent to 4,301.5 in Australia, while the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 1.05 percent to 4,324.8.

The Shanghai Composite was down 1.18 percent to 2,398.37 and Taiwan’s Taiex was 1.27 percent lower to 7,329.37.

New York markets were lower in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.06 percent to 9,875.82, the S&P 500 was up 0.29 percent to 1,044.27 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.5 percent higher to 2,145.84.

Crude oil prices had lost about $1.20 per barrel by midday in New York, while metals prices were mixed with copper up but gold and silver lower.

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