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August 4, 2010    

Centamin Egypt leads mining sector higher

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by Elaine Frei
Centamin Egypt leads nmining sector higher

European equities markets were mixed Wednesday as London markets saw declines but markets in Paris and Frankfurt notched gains.

The FTSE 100 dropped 0.19 percent to 5,386.16 in London, while the FTSE 250 was down 0.09 percent to 10,126.41.

Most miners were higher on the session, led by gold miner Centamin Egypt (LSE: CEY), which added 4.39 percent on the 250.

Mining sector constituents were also four of the top five gainers on the 100, with gold miners well-represented there, as well, as Randgold Resources gained 2.88 percent, African Barrick Gold was up 2.85 percent and Mexico-based gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) added 2.62 percent.

Banks were mixed as Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) added 3.57 percent to lead the 100 after pretax profit in the first half was better than had been expected, but Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) dropped 5.02 percent although first half income was up a bit more than anticipated as consumer banking revenue missed estimates and Royal Bank of Scotland cut its recommendation from “buy” to “hold”.

The retail sector was lower, with clothing retailer Next (LSE: NXT) turning in the worst performance there and on the 100, dropping 7.82 percent after same-store sales dropped 1.5 percent in the first half and it issued a warning for the second half.

Fellow clothing retailer Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS) was also lower, falling 2.88 percent, while DIY retailers Home Retail Group (LSE: HOME) and Kingfisher (LSE: KFG) dropped 3.6 percent and 3.22 percent respectively.

Video games retailer Game Group (LSE: GMG) fell 4.95 percent.

Educational products group Promethean World (LSE: PRW) added 10.85 percent to lead the 250 and all shares in London, while Salamander Energy (LSE: SMDR) dropped 9.92 percent, the worst performance in London and on the 250.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.07 percent to 1,071.59 while the CAC-40 added 0.35 percent to 3,760.72 and the Dax gained 0.37 percent to 6,331.33, but the IBEX dropped 0.26 percent to 10,843.3.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed as the Japanese yen weakened, but new data showed that China’s services sector grew more rapidly in July than in had in June.

The Nikkei 225 was 2.11 percent lower to 9,489.34 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 1.54 percent to 845.93 and the Mothers market dropped 1.98 percent to 382.87.

The stronger yen hurt exporters.

Consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) was down 3 percent while Kyocera (TYO: 6971) fell 3.2 percent, Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) was 3.9 percent lower, camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) was down 4.3 percent and chipmaker Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) dropped 5 percent.

Carmakers were also lower, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) was down 1.6 percent before it said after trading closed for the session that it had its best operating profit in two years and upped its outlook, while Suzuki Motor (TYO: 7269) fell 3.8 percent and Nissan Motor (TYO: 7201) dropped 4.3 percent even though US sales were up 15 percent in July.

Other decliners in the region included South Korea’s Kospi, which fell 0.07 percent to 1,789.26 while the Straits Times Index was down 0.43 percent to 3,001.87.

Australian markets dropped even though new figures showed its trade surplus grew more than expected in June, with the Sydney Ordinaries gaining 0.58 percent to 4,559.7 while the S&P/.ASX200 added 0.65 percent to 4,542.1.

Taiwan’s Taiex added 0.19 percent to 7,972.66, while the Hang Seng was up 0.43 percent to 21,549.88 in Hong Kong, the Shanghai Composite was 0.44 percent higher to 2,638.52 and India’s Sensex gained 0.57 percent to 18,217.44.

New York markets were up in midday trade, with gains coming on a private report showing that private sector hiring grew last month and the US services sector expanded, while the latest earnings reports were mostly positive.

By shortly before 1 p.m. local time the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 0.37 percent to 10,675.78 while the S&P 500 was up 0.44 percent to 1,125.34 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.69 percent higher to 2,299.22.

Crude oil prices were mixed, with West Texas Intermediate September contracts adding a cent from Tuesday’s close by shortly before 1 p.m., while Brent crude was 26 cents lower.

Metals prices were up in New York trade, with gold back above the $1,200 per troy ounce level.

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