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July 22, 2010    

Carpetright leads retailers as UK sales rise in June

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by Elaine Frei
Carpetright leads retailers as UK sales rise in June

European equities markets were higher Thursday as both the manufacturing and services sectors expanded unexpected in June, while retail sales advanced more than expected in the UK and several US-based companies in various sectors issued higher profits forecasts.

The FSTE 100 added 1.9 percent to 5,313..81 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 1.59 percent to 10,003.18 on reports that retail sales in the UK were up 0.7 percent in June over May’s levels and added 1.3 percent from June 2009.

Most retailers were up, led by floor covering specialist Carpetright (LSE: CPR), which added 5.71 percent, while there were only four decliners in the sector, with the biggest drop coming from supermarket chain J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY), which fell 0.55 percent.

Aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls Royce Group (LSE: RR) led gains on the 100, adding 5.52 percent, while the biggest gain on the 250 and in London generally came from real estate investor and developer St. Modwen Properties (LSE: SMP), which added 7.18 percent.

Investment group Resolution (LSE: RSL) was the biggest decliner on the 250, falling 3.58 percent, while software group Autonomy Corporation (LSE: AU) dropped the most in London as it fell 9.05 percent on the 100 after it said its gross margins were at 86 percent in the second quarter, down from 88 percent in the same quarter last year.

Most banks were higher, led by Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC), which added 4.62 percent, but Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS) was 1.06 percent lower.

Most miners also saw gains, led by Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ), which was up 5.15 percent, but there were two decliners in the sector, led by African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG) with a decline of 2.02 percent.

Pubs operator Enterprise Inns (LSE: ETI) added 4.99 percent for the best performance in the travel and leisure sector, while Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) was up 4.63 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 2.06 percent to 1,038.89 while the Dax added 2.53 percent to 6,142.15, the IBEX was 2.61 percent higher to 10,302.9 and the CAC-40 gained 3.05 percent to 3,600.57.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower after remarks from US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Berrnanke, in which he characterized the outlook for the US economy as “unusually uncertain”.

The exception were the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Shanghai Composite which rose 0.5 percetn to 20,589.7 and 1.07 percent to 2,562.41 respectively on gains in the real estate sector.

Hong Kong saw gains on the possibility that the price of luxury homes there could rise by as much as 10 percent in the second half of the year.

In China, meanwhile, China Vanke (SZSE: 000002) added 2.6 percent on the Shenzhen exchange after Citigroup began coverage with a “buy” rating and Poly Real Estate Group (SSE: 600048) gained 4.5 percent in Shanghai.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.62 percent lower to 9,220.88 while the Topix index fell 0.47 percent to 825.48 and the Mothers market dropped 1.16 percent to 383.41.

Exporters which make a significant amount of sales in the United States were lower.

Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) fell 0.5 percent while camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) was down 0.8 percent, liquid-crystal display manufacturer Sharp (TYO: 6753) was 2.1 percent lower and electronic components and data-storage media maker TDK Corporation (TYO: 6762) dropped 2.5 percent.

Utilities were up across the region with Tokyo Gas Co (TYO: 9531) was up 0.3 percent and Tokyo Electric Power Co (TYO: 9501) added 1 percent.

The Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.77 percent to 4,394.8 in Australia, while the S&P/ASX200 was down 0.86 percent to 4,374.7

Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.45 percent to 7,666.34, South Korea’s Kospi and India’s Sensex were each down 0.76 percent, to 1,735.53 and 18,113.15 respectively, and the Straits Times Index dropped 1.01 percent to 2,955.67.

New York markets were higher even though the Labor Department reported that new unemployment claims were up by 37,000 last week to 464,000, a bigger rise than had been anticipated, as revenues and forecasts were up for many corporations as second quarter reports continued to come in.

Additionally, existing home sales fell less than expected in June, falling by 5.1 percent rather than the expected 8.1 percent in a report form the National Association of Realtors, although sales of existing homes were still at a three-month low.

At just before 1 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2.02 percent to 10,324.64 while at the same time the S&P 500 had added 2.19 percent to 1,092.97 and the Nasdaq Composite was 2.37 percent higher to 2,239.08.

Crude oil prices were up significantly as West Texas Intermediate added more than $2 per barrel and Brent crude was up form than $1.80 per barrel in midday trade.

Metals prices were also higher, but gold remained below $1,200 per troy ounce.

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