PartyGaming adds 20 percent on merger news

| July 29, 2010 | 0 Comments
PartyGaming adds 20 percent on merger news

European equities markets were mostly lower Thursday after US equities markets declined.

The FTSE 100 was 0.11 percent lower to 5,313.95 in London, but the FTSE 250 added 0.54 percent to 10,074.17 as investors hesitated ahead of US data on its gross domestic product, due to be reported on Friday.

The gains on the 250 were led by online gambler PartyGaming (LSE: PRTY), which added 20.43 percent for the best performance by far in the travel and leisure sector after it said it will merge with bwin Interactive Entertainment (WBAG: BWIN), an Austrian online gambler.

Rank Group (LSE: RNK), also with interests in gambling, added 7.69 percent, but the sector was mixed, with pubs operator Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) the biggest decliner as it dropped 3.92 percent.

Publisher Reed Elsevier (LSE: REL) led gains on the 100 as it added 3.76 percent on a significant rise in net income in its first half, and was followed on the index by a 3.5 percent gain for telecommunications group BT Group (LSE: BT.A), which was up 3.15 percent on its report that pretax profits were up in its fiscal first quarter even as revenues fell.

Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSA, RDSB), Rolls-Royce Group (LSE: RR) and BAE Systems (LSE: BA) also issued reports during the session.

AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) was 2.7 percent higher on a gain in net income during the second quarter, over the same period last year, with gains also helped by the news that a US Food and Drug Administration panel has recommended that the regulatory agency approve Brilinta, a drug meant to treat some heart ailments.

The biggest decline of the session in London came on the 250, from property investor and developer St. Modwen Properties (LSE: SMP), which dropped 4.59 percent, while beverage can manufacturer Rexam (LSE: REX) was down 3.39 percent for the worst performance on the 100.

The energy sector was mixed with the best performance coming from oil and gas construction and engineering group Lamprell (LSE: LAM), which added 5.19 percent while wind turbine gearbox manufacturer Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN) dropped 3.18 percent for the worst result of the day in the sector.

Troubled oil company BP (LSE: BP) managed a gain of 2.72 percent on the session.

Facilities manager Connaught (LSE: CNT) added 13.9 percent after recent big declines.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.35 percent to 1,047.24 while the CAC-40 fell 0.5 percent to 3,651.91 and the Dax dropped 0.72 percent to 6,134.7, but the IBEX added 0.15 percent to 10,659.5.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on the session.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.59 percent lower to 9,696.02 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 0.49 percent to 861.27 and the Mothers market dropped 0.04 percent to 403.92.

Electronics giant Sony Corp (TYO: 6758) added 0.12 percent, then after the close of trade reported a large operating profit, against expectations that it would show a loss in the quarter.

Chipmaker Toshiba Corp (TYO: 6502) also reported profits after the close, but was down 0.22 percent on the session.

Panasonic Corp (TYO: 6752) dropped 7.7 percent on reports that it plans a new share issue to raise ¥500 billion ($5.7 billion) to buy Sanyo Electric (TYO: 6764), which added 26.27 percent and Panasonic Electric works (TYO: 6991) was up 15.4 percent on the news.

Australia’s markets were also lower as the S&P/ASX200 and the Sydney Ordinaries each dropped 0.13 percent, to 4,524.1 and 4,536.2 respectively, while South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.15 percent to 1,770.88.

The Hang Seng was 0.01 percent higher to 21,093.82 while the Taiex added 0.18 percent to 7,798.99, the Sensex was up 0.19 percent to 17,992, the Straits Times Index was 0.41 percent higher to 2,997.65 and the Shanghai Composite gained 0.55 percent to 2,648.12.

New York markets were lower after St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said that while he believes that there is little risk of deflation in the United States, if it does become an issue the Fed might have to start buying government debt.

At just before 1 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped 0.67 percent to 10,427.42, while at the same time the S&P 500 was down 0.88 percent to 1,096.36 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.24 percent lower to 2,236.42.

Crude oil prices were higher in midday trade, with both West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude trading above $77 per barrel.

Metals prices were also higher in New York trade.

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