BHP Billiton declines on hostile bid for Potash Corp

| August 18, 2010 | 0 Comments
BHP Billiton declines on hostile bid for Potash Corp

Most equities markets in Europe were lower Wednesday as miners declined after copper prices fell in London trade and BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) made a hostile bid for Canadian fertilizer producer Potash Corp (TSX: POT).

The FTSE 100 was down 0.89 percent to 5,302.87 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.25 percent to 9,886.79.

BHP Billiton, which would become the biggest fertilizer producer in the world if its bid were to succeed, dropped 3.44 percent after it offered $130 cash for each share of the Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp.

Most miners were lower on the session, with Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) leading declines among miners and on the 100 as it dropped 4.24 percent, while iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) added 1.44 percent, the best of four sector constituents seeing gains.

The best performance on the 100 came from satellite services provider Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT), which added 5.75 percent on the news that it will receive payments totaling $337.5 million as part of a deal regarding the rebanding of a radio spectrum in North America.

Right behind Inmarsat on the 100, product tester Intertek Group (LSE: ITRK) added 4.24 percent after it was added to the MSCCI World Index.

JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD) added 4.79 percent to lead gains on the 250 and in the retail sector, while home furnishings retailer Dunelm Group (LSE: DNLM) turned in the worst performance among retailers as it dropped 3.38 percent.

The biggest decliner in London was wind turbine gearbox manufacturer Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN), which was 7.74 percent lower to lead most of the energy sector lower, while BP (LSE: BP) fell 2.55 percent after putting a natural gas field in Louisiana up for sale.

Travel agent Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) was the best performer in the travel and leisure sector as it added 2.48 percent, while online gambler PartyGaming (LSE: PRTY) fell the most in the mixed sector, dropping 3.75 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.39 percent to 1,052.45 while the Dax fell 0.32 percent, to 6,186.31 and the CAC-40 dropped 0.41 percent to 3,647.93, but the IBEX added 0.21 percent to 10,391.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed, with what gains there were coming after US retailers Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD) both reported earnings that surpassed expectations.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.86 percent to 9,240.54 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 1.02 percent to 835.23 and the Mothers market gained 1 percent to 371.81.

Camera makers made gains, with Canon (TYO: 7751) up 0.99 percent while Nikon Corp (TYO: 7731) added 1.55 percent after an upgrade from “hold” to “buy” from Deutsche Securities.

Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) added 0.83 percent while Isuzu Motor (TYO: 7202) was up 1.89 percent, Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was 2.35 percent higher and Nissan Motors (TYO: 7201) gained 2.83 percent.

Nidec Corp (TYO: 6594), which makes electric motors, was up 3.8 percent after it said it will buy US-based Emerson Electric Co (NYSE: EMB), the latest in a series of foreign acquisitions by Japanese companies.

Australia’s markets were mixed, with the Sydney Ordinaries adding 0.02 percent to 4,503.9, while the S&P/ASX200 dropped 0.05 percent to 4,474.9.

Other markets seeing gains in the region included the Kospi, which was 0.4 percent higher to 1,761.99 in South Korea, while India’s Sensex added 1.15 percent to 18,257.12.

On the other hand, Taiwan’s Taiex was down 0.09 percent to 7,924.1, while the Straits Times Index fell 0.14 percent to 2,919.37 in Singapore, the Shanghai Composite was 0.21 percent lower to 2,666.3 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.54 percent to 21,022.73.

New York markets were up in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.09 percent to 10,415.2, while the S&P 500 was up 0.19 percent to 1,094.64 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.49 percent higher to 2,220.21.

Crude oil prices were down nearly $1 per barrel at midday in New York trade, while gold prices were up but silver had declined.

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