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Clothing retailer Supergroup drops nearly 11 percent in London

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by Elaine Frei
Clothing retailer Supergroup drops nearly 11 percent in London

European equities markets were lower Wednesday on more concerns about Europe’s debt problems after Moody’s Investors Service said it is reviewing Spain’s credit rating ahead of a possible downgrade, but losses were cut a bit on new data showing that US factory output was up in November.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.15 percent to 5,882.18 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.32 percent to 11,372.8 even though the number of individuals getting jobless benefits dropped by 1,200 in November from the previous month, to 1.46 million, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics.

Clothing retailer Supergroup (LSE: SGP) was down 10.93 percent to lead declines on the 250, it’s biggest one-day decline since its initial public offering in March, while Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) was the worst performer on the 100, dropping 3.68 percent to lead the London banking sector lower.

The best performance on the 100 came from shopping centre management and development company Capital Shopping Centres Group (LSE: CSCG), which added 4.87 percent after it rejected a bid from US-based Simon Property (NYSE: SPG) worth £2.4 billion ($4.5 billion), but the real estate sector was mixed with the biggest decline coming from self-storage business Big Yellow Group (LSE: BYG), which was down 1.24 percent.

There were also declines among house builders as Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) fell 4.24 percent and Persimmon (LSE: PSN) dropped 3.7 percent.

Recruitment group Michael Page International (LSE: MPI) was the best performer on the 250 as it added 7.1 percent.

Miners were mixed, with iron-ore miner Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) adding 3.49 percent after it said it would buy inland waterway transport company Helogistics Holdilngs GmbH, a private company based in Austria, for €28.5 million.

While Ferrexpo was the best performer in the mining sector, Kenmare Resources (LSE: KMR) had the worst result as it dropped 3.85 percent while Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) was down 2.51 percetn and Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) was 1.99 percent lower.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.35 percent to 1,128.49 while the Dax fell 1.16 percent to 7,016.37, the CAC-40 was 0.58 percent lower to 3,880.19 and the IBEX dropped 1.5 percent to 10,009.8.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed.

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.07 percent to 10,309.8 in Tokyo, but the Topix index added 0.06 percent to 902.42 and the Mothers market gained 0.8 percent to 422.09.

Steelmakers were lower after the Bank of Japan released its quarterly Tankan index of business sentiment, which showed that confidence among large manufacturers dropped to 5 in December, from 8 in September.

Kobe Steel (TYO: 5406) was down 1 percent while JFE Holdings (TYO: 4511) fell 1.2 percent and Nippon Steel (TYO: 5401) dropped 1.3 percent.

Consumer lenders also declined, with Promise (TYO: 8574) down 3.7 percent while Acom (TYO: 8572) dropped 4 percent after Moody’s Investors Service said it is reviewing the credit ratings of both companies for possible downgrade because so many of the lenders’ customers have demanded repayment of excessive interest they were charged on loans.

Tokyo’s real estate sector made gains after the Bank of Japan said it will start purchasing REITs and other financial assets very soon.

Mitsubishi Estate (TYO; 8802) added 0.4 percent, while Kenedix Realty Investment Corp (TYO: 8972) was up 3.8 percent and Nomura Real Estate Residential Fund Inc (TYO; 3240) gained 4.2 percent.

Other decliners in the region included the Shanghai Composite, which was down 0.54 percent to 2,911.41, while the Sensex fell 0.76 percent to 19,647.8 in India, Singapore’s Straits Times Index was 0.94 percent lower to 3,147.2 and the Hang Seng dropped 1.95 percent to 22,975.71 in Hong Kong.

Australia’s markets were slightly higher as the S&P/ASX200 added 0.02 percent to 4,767.8 and the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.05 percent to 4,853.4, while the Taiex was 0.19 percent higher to 8,756.71 in Taiwan and South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.42 percent to 2,017.48.

New York markets were mixed in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.07 percent to 11,484.6 but the S&P 500 was down 0.33 percent to 1,237.52 and the Nasdaq Compoiste was 0.18 percent lower to 2,622.89.

Crude oil prices were higher just before 1 p.m. in New York after trading lower before the US Energy Information Administration said that crude oil stockpiles in the United States dropped nearly 10 million barrels last week, against an expected drop of just 2.7 million barrels, while gasoline inventories were up by a modest 800,000 barrels and distillates in storage added 1.1 million barrels.

Metals prices were lower in New York trade, with gold down $18.20 per troy ounce.

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News posted: December 15, 2010

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