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July 15, 2010    

Connaught drops most in London

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by Elaine Frei
Connaught drops most in London

European equities markets were lower Thursday on new data showing that growth in China slowed in the second quarter and on news that manufacturing activity is not expanding at a reduced rate in the New York and Philadelphia regions of the United States.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.8 percent to 5,211.29 in London, while the FTSE 250 was 0.44 percent lower to 9,852.45.

Support services Connaught (LSE: CNT) fell 7.98 percent for the worst performance of the session on the 250 and in London generally, but South Africa-based IT services group Dimension Data Holdings (LSE: DDT) added 19.78 percent, also on the 250, to lead gainers in London.

Over on the 100, Essar Energy (LSE: ESSR) added 4.45 percent to lead gainers there, while Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) dropped 3.89 percent to lead declines on that index and in the banking sector.

Banks were lower in London on expectations that the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer will demand that banks step up lending to businesses.

Miners were lower as metals prices fell on concerns that demand from China will decrease.

Iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) was the biggest decliner in the sector, dropping 4.74 percent, while Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) fell 3.49 percent and Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) was 3.32 percent lower.

Investment managers Gartmore Group (LSE: GRT) fell 5.54 percent on the resignation of Guilllaume Rambourg, who is under investigation for his behavior while working as a fund manager there.

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) added 1.8 percent on settlement of most of the cases related to its liability for side effects of its Avandia diabetes drug, and after a US advisory panel recommended that the Food and Drug Administration allow Avandia to remain on the market there despite possible ties to heart ailments.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 1.14 percent to 1,033.22 while the Dax fell 0.97 percent to 6,149.36, the IBEX was 1.15 percent lower to 10,160.2 and the CAC-40 dropped 1.41 percent to 3,581.82 with only three gainers.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower, but declines moderated after new figures showed that China’s economy grew by only 10.3 percent in the second quarter, from 11.9 percent growth in the first quarter of the year, raising hopes that China will not tighten monetary policy any further.

The Nikkei 225 fell 1.12 percent to 9,685.53 in Tokyo while the Topix index was down 1.62 percent to 856.6 and the Mothers market dropped 1.76 percent to 398.31.

Carmakers were lower after Nissan Motor (TYO: 7201) said it would suspend production at two US plants for three days, beginning Thursday, because Hitachi Ltd (TYO: 6501) had not provided enough parts, after Nissan said earlier that some of its plants in Japan would also close for three days on the parts shortage.

Nissan fell 3.28 percent, while Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) was down 2.31 percent and Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was 2.15 percent lower as the sector was also hurt by a stronger yen.

Other exporters also saw declines, including industrial robot manufacturer Fanuc (TYO: 6954), which fell 0.92 percent while consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) was down 2.39 percent and camera and copier manufacturer Canon (TYO: 7751) was 2.51 percent lower.

The Bank of Japan held interest rates there at 0.1 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, Taiwan’s Taiex was down 0.13 percent to 7,704.52 while the Sensex fell 0.16 percent to 17,909.46 in India, the Straits Times Index was 0.31 percent lower to 2,943.55 in Singapore and the Kospi dropped 0.38 percent to 1,751.29 in South Korea.

The S&P/ASX200 was down 0.44 percent to 4,442.6 in Australia, while the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.46 percent to 4,456.7.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.48 percent lower to 20,255.62, while the Shanghai Composite was down 1.87 percent to 2,424.3.

New York markets were lower just before 1 p.m. local time, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.92 percent to 10,271.14 while at the same time the S&P 500 had dropped 0.98 percent to 1,084.4 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.93 percent lower to 2,228.98.

Crude oil prices were down about $1.20 to below $76 per barrel, while in metals markets gold and silver were higher but copper prices were down.

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