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November 11, 2010    

Ferrexpo leads miners higher in London

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by Elaine Frei
Ferrexpo leads miners higher in London

Most equities markets in Europe were lower Thursday as investors continued to worry about debt problems in Europe generally and about the state of Ireland’s economy in particular.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.03 percent to 5,815.23 in London, while the FTSE 250 was 0.87 percent lower to 10,899.1.

Miners were in focus as most in the sector advanced on higher prices for copper and other base metals, with Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) doing best in the sector with a gain of 10.77 percent on the 250 after it reported that output was at a record high in the most recent quarter, and after Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised its recommendation on the iron-ore miner from “underperform” to “buy”.

Over on the 100, miners were four of the top five gainers on the index as Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) added 4.77 percent, Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) was up 4.58 percent, Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) was 3.82 percent higher and Xstrata (LSE: XTA) gained 3.69 percent.

The biggest gainer on the 100 was telecommunications company BT Group (LSE: BT), which added 6.09 percent to lead gains in a mixed sector, while satellite telecommunications group Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) did worst in the sector, dropping 2.62 percent.

Inter-dealer money broker ICAP (LSE: IAP) fared the worst on the 100, dropping 4.13 percent after a downgrade from “outperform” to “neutral” by Credit Suisse.

Retailer Super Group (LSE: SGP) managed the best performance on the 250, adding 10.38 percent, while outsourcer Xchanging (LSE: XCH) was the biggest decliner on that index as it fell 10.38 percent.

The media sector was mostly lower, with the worst performance in the sector coming from directories publisher Yell Group (LSE: YELL), which was down 10.36 percent, while the only gainer among media companies was business magazine publisher Euromoney Institutional Investor (LSE: ERM) with a gain of 0.15 percent.

Most insurers were lower on the session, led by Aviva (LSE: AV), which dropped 3.22 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.03 percent to 1,109.25 while the CAC-40 fell 0.54 percent to 3,867.35 and the IBEX dropped 0.84 percent to 10,149.5, but the Dax managed to add 0.05 percent to 6,723.41.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.31 percent to 9,861.46 in Tokyo while the Topix index added 0.4 percent to 856.37 and the Mothers market gained 0.8 percent to 370.05.

Exporters, including carmakers, were up as the yen weakened versus the US dollar, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7263) up 2 percent while Mazda Motor (TYO: 7261) added 2.4 percent.

Japanese banks saw gains after an upgrade of the sector by Deutsche Bank, from “market-weight” to “overweight”, citing the possibility that banks in Japan could receive an exemption from stricter capital reserve requirements.

Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) was up 1.5 percent while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) added 1.8 percent and Mizuho Financial Group (TYO: 8411) gained 2.4 percent.

Other gainers in the region included the Straits Times Index, which added 0.13 percent to 3,293.39 in Singapore, while in Australia the S&P/ASX200 was up 0.61 percent to 4,728.6 and the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.64 percent to 4,810.3.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 0.82 percent higher to 24,700.3 and the Shanghai Composite was up 1.04 percent to 3,147.74, both gaining on anticipation of more foreign investment in the region as investors seek to take advantage of strength in the economy there, despite the prospect of more tightening of monetary policy as new data showed that consumer price inflation was at 4.4 percent in October, its highest in more than two years and up from 3.6 percent in September.

Declines came for Taiwan’s Taiex, which was 0.16 percent lower to 8,436.95, while the Sensex fell 1.37 percent to 20,589.1 in India and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 2.7 percent to 1,914.73.

South Korea’s declines came as foreign investors sold off 1.34 trillion won worth of shares, the biggest 1-day exit of foreign money from the nation’s markets in history.

New York markets were lower after computer hardware and software group Cisco Systems (NAS: CSCO) said that its quarterly report will be below analyst expectations.

In midday trade in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.76 percent to 11,270.2 while the S&P 500 had dropped 0.63 percent to 1,211.03 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.08 percent lower to 2,550.97.

Crude oil prices were mixed, with WTI up a few cents and Brent crude down a few cents over Wednesday’s close in midday trade, while metals prices were higher on the session so far.

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