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September 24, 2010    

ARM Holdings higher on possible bid from Oracle

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by Elaine Frei
ARM Holdings higher on possible bid from Oracle

European equities markets were higher Friday, helped by an increase in business sentiment in Germany and durable goods orders in the US which came out better in August than had been expected.

While the orders for goods expected to last three years or more were down 1.3 percent overall, according to the Commerce Department, orders for nondefense capital goods, excluding aircraft, were up 4.1 percent last month, while machinery orders added 3.9 percent but transportation orders were down 10.3 percent.

The FTSE 100 added 0.93 percent to 5,598.48 in London, while the FTSE 250 gained 1.08 percent to 10,539.

Chipmakers saw the biggest gains on both the 100 and the 250 as ARM Holdings was 6.27 percent higher on the possibility that US-based Oracle Corp (NAS: ORCL) could be getting ready to bid after Oracle’s CEO said that his company is looking to acquire chipmakers and companies that make industry-specific software, while Imagination Technologies (LSE: IMG) was up 7.55 percent on the 250 and was the best performer in London generally.

Directories publisher Yell Group (LSE: YELL) dropped the most in London, falling 4.38 percent on the 250, while miner Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) dropped 2.48 percent to lead declines on the 100 after UBS cut its recommendation on the copper producer from “neutral” to “sell”.

Despite the decline for Antofagasta and a few other miners, most in the sector saw gains, led by Ireland-based Kenmare Resources (LSE: KMR), which gained 4.58 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.14 percent to 1,078.05 while the Dax added 1.84 percent to 6,298.3, the CAC-40 was 1.94 percent higher to 3.782.48 and the IBEX gained 2.15 percent to 10,727.6.

Asia-Pacific region equities markets were mixed Friday as most came back from fall holidays, but markets in China remained closed, although diplomatic tensions remained high between China and Japan even though Japan said it would release the Chinese captain of a boat that rammed two Japanese ships in the East China Sea earlier in the month.

Tensions were complicated when China accused four Japanese nationals, identified as employees of a Japanese construction company, who authorities said entered a military zone illegally and filmed military targets in Hebei province.

The Nikkei 225 fell 0.99 percent to 9,471.67 in Tokyo, bringing the index’s losses for the week to 1.6 percent, while the Topix index was down 0.96 percent to 838.41 and the Mothers market dropped 1.09 percent to 368.92.

Earlier in the session, Tokyo markets were higher on rumors that a decline in the yen was the result of another intervention by the government, but the yen rose again and stocks fell after the government would not comment on the issue.

Glass makers were affected by the tensions between China and Japan after reports that China has stopped shipments of cerium, a rare earth element used as an abrasive in the manufacture of glass, to Japanese consumers of the substance.

Nippon Electric Glass (TYO: 5214) dropped 1.6 percent, also hurt by a downward revision of its earnings outlook for the fiscal first half, while Hoya (TYO: 7741) was down 1.9 percent and Asahi Glass (TYO: 5201) was 3 percent lower.

Other exporters were also lower as the yen rebounded, with Advantest (TYO: 6857) falling 1.6 percent and Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) was down 3.6 percent among businesses related to the semiconductors sector, while printer and copier maker Ricoh (TYO: 7752) dropped 2.6 percent.

Other decliners in the region included Taiwan’s Taiex, which fell 0.44 percent to 8,166.62, while in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.61 percent to 4,651.5 and the S&P/ASX200 was 0.68 percent lower to 4,601.9.

Markets seeing gains included the Straits Times Index, which added 0.31 percent to 3,092.68 in Singapore, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng hit a five-month high as it gained 0.33 percent to 22,110.43, the Kospi was up 0.76 percent to 1,846.6 in South Korea and India’s Sensex was 0.93 percent higher to 20,045.18.

New York markets were higher in midday trade, helped by the new data on durable goods orders, while investors seemed not to be bothered much by figures on US new home sales, which were flat in August versus July but were down 28.9 percent from August 2009 as the supply of new homes available for sale were at a 42-year low at 206,000 units.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.65 percent higher to 10,838.72 at midday, while the S&P 500 had added 1.87 percent to 1,145.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.89 percent to 2,371.11.

Crude oil prices were up by more than $1 per barrel, with West Texas Intermediate crude trading above $76 per barrel in New York, while metals prices were also higher.

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