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August 20, 2010    

Dana Petroleum gains on new bid from Korea National Oil Corp

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by Elaine Frei
Dana Petroleum gains on new bid from Korea National Oil Corp

European equities markets were lower Friday as investors continued to worry about US reports on jobless claims and manufacturing activity which have raised more concerns about how well the economy is really recovering from recession.

The FTSE 100 was 0.31 percent lower to 5,195.28 in London, while the FTSE 250 was down 0.75 percent to 9,761.15.

The energy sector was mixed, but constituents of the sector led gains on both the 100 and the 250 on rumors of mergers and acquisitions activity.

Dana Petroleum (LSE: DNX) led the 250 and was the biggest gainer in London, adding 5.96 percent after receiving a bid worth $2.0 billion from Korea National Oil Corp, equal to the bid from Korea National that it rejected earlier.

Korea National claims that it has the support of around 49 percent of Dana’s stockholders, but Dana said it has asked its shareholders to refrain from taking action on the bid.

Over on the 100, BG Group (LSE: BG) gained 5.92 percent on speculation that it may also be a takeover target, with one media source speculating that Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSA, RDSB) might be readying a bid.

Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN), which makes wind turbine gearboxes, was the biggest decliner in the sector, dropping 7.22 percent, followed by Wellstream Holdings, which was 4.95 percent lower.

Most of the mining sector was lower on declines in copper prices and on nerves head of elections in Australia this weekend which could determine whether a proposed tax on miners will go forward.

Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) was the biggest decliner in the sector, falling 3.96 percent to lead declines on the 100, while African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG) was the best performer in the sector with a gain of 2.14 percent.

Facilities manager Connaught (LSE: CNT) was the biggest decliner in London, falling 12.24 percent on the 250.

British Airways (LSE: BAY) was 2.74 percent lower on flight delays throughout the region after an air traffic control outage in the Netherlands, with delays expected to persist into the afternoon for flights above 7,500 meters (24,606 feet).

The travel and leisure sector was mostly lower, with the biggest decline coming from InterContinental Hotels (LSE: IHG), which fell 3.74 percent, while the best performer in the sector was pubs operator Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB), which was 4.39 percent higher.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.67 percent to 1,029.91 while the Dax fell 1.15 percent to 6,005.16, the CAC-40 was 1.3 percent lower to 3,526.12 and the IBEX dropped 1.4 percent to 10,094.3.

There were no gainers on either the DAX or the CAC-40.

Asia-Pacific regional markets were lower on the session.

The Nikkei 225 was down 1.96 percent to 9,179.38 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 1.71 percent to 829.59 and the Mothers market dropped 0.96 percent to 375.4 as investors hesitated ahead of any decision from the Bank of Japan on monetary policy as rumors spread that it will loosen policy soon in order to weaken the yen.

The yen was stronger again, hurting exporters.

Consumer electronics companies had a bad time of it, as Panasonic (TYO: 6752) was down 1.8 percent while Sony (TYO: 6758) fell 2.4 percent and Sharp (TYO: 6753) dropped 2.7 percent on reports that it will slow production of LCD display panels for as much as two months.

Nippon Sheet Glass (TYO: 5202), which makes glass for electronic device displays, was down 6.4 percent.

Camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) was 2.2 percent lower, while Kyocera (TYO: 6971) fell 3.1 percent.

Automobile manufacturer Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203), which gets 30 percent of its revenues from sales in the United States, dropped 1.8 percent on yesterday’s disappointing report on new jobless claims from the United States.

The Taiex was down 0.02 percent to 7,927.31 in Taiwan, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.23 percent to 1,775.54, the Sensex was 0.29 percent lower to 18,401.82 in India, the Straits Times Index was down 0.35 percent to 2,936.48 in Singapore, and the Hang Seng dropped 0.43 percent to 20,981.82 in Hong Kong.

The Sydney Ordinaries fell 1.05 percent to 4,462.1 in Australia, while the S&P/ASX200 was 1.07 percent lower to 4,430.9.

The Shanghai Composite dropped 1.7 percent to 2,642.31.

New York markets were lower in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.01 percent to 10,167.26 while the S&P 500 was down 0.9 percent to 1,065.98 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.64 percent lower to 2,165.09.

Crude oil prices were down by just over $1 per barrel, with West Texas Intermediate crude trading barely above $73 per barrel, while metals prices were also lower in midday trade in New York.

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