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Monday 12th of July 2010
July 6, 2010    

Antofagasta leads miners higher in London

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by Elaine Frei
Antofagasta leads miners higher in London

European equities markets were higher Tuesday on sentiment that the economic outlook is not bad enough to justify recent declines.

The FTSE 100 added 2.93 percent to 4,965 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 2.15 percent to 9,501.09.

Most miners were up on gains in metals prices as four of the five top gainers on the 100 came from the sector, led by Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO), which added 7.56 percent, followed by Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) with a gain of 6.67 percent and Xstrata (LSE: XTA), which was up 6.67 percent.

However, the biggest decline on the 100 also came from the mining sector as African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG) dropped 2.75 percent on lower gold prices after weakened demand.

The energy sector was also mostly higher, led by a gain of 8.76 percent from Heritage Oil (LSE: HOIL) to top the 250 after Uganda conditionally approved a purchase by Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW), up 3.65 percent on the session, of some of Heritage’s assets.

BP (LSE: BP) gained 3.66 percent on reports that it will not issue new shares to pay for the cleanup of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and after RBS raised its recommendation on the oil company from “hold” to “buy”, essentially commenting that things cannot get any worse than it already is for BP.

Most retailers were up on the session, led by automobile retailer Inchcape (LSE: INCH) with a gain of 8.27 percent, but home shopping specialist N Brown Group (LSE: BWNG) dropped 4.67 percent for the biggest decline in the sector.

Department store operator Debenhams (LSE: DEB) was up 4.98 percent after UBS upgraded it from “neutral” to “buy”.

Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) was the biggest gainer in an all-higher banking sector, adding 5.94 percent, while homebuilder Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) led its sector higher as it gained 6.74 percent and cabinet maker Galiform (LSE: GFRM) was 8.36 percent higher.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 2.27 percent to 988.42 while the Dax added 2.15 percent to 5,940.98, the CAC-40 was 2.73 percent higher to 3,423.36 and the IBEX gained 3.59 percent to 9,615.

There were no losers on either the Dax or the CAC-40.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher as investors looked for bargains after recent declines.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.77 percent to 9,338.04 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 1.24 percent to 847.24 and the Mothers market gained 1.06 percent to 399.97.

Banks were higher in Tokyo as Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) was up 3 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) was 3.4 percent higher.

Shares related to semiconductors also saw gains, with Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) adding 0.4 percent while Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) gained 4.5 percent.

The Kospi was up 0.57 percent to 1,684.94 in South Korea, Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.84 percent, and the Sensex was 0.99 percent to 17,614.48 in India.

Australia’s markets were up after the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates steady at 4.5 percent, the second consecutive month of no movement on rates there, with the Sydney Ordinaries gaining 1.16 percent to 4,299.7 as the S&P/ASX200 added 1.28 percent to 4,276.1.

The Hang Seng was 1.22 percent higher to 20,084.12 in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s Taiex gained 1.46 percent to 7,548.48 and the Shanghai Composite gained 1.92 percent to 2,409.42.

Wall Street was up as banks saw gains and after a report from the Institute for Supply Management showed that the services sector remained in expansion, although the ISM’s non-manufacturing index dropped to 53.8 in June after holding at 55.4 in March, April and May, against an expected decline to 54.5.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.15 percent to 9,797.51 in midday trade in New York, while the S&P 500 had added 1.25 percent to 1,035.36 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.19 percent higher to 2,116.62.

Crude oil was up about $1 per barrel in midday trade in New York, while gold prices were down but silver and copper both saw gains.

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