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30th of December 2010
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December 22, 2010    

Chipmaker ARM Holdings leads London markets higher

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by Elaine Frei
Chipmaker ARM Holdings leads London markets higher

European equities markets were mixed Wednesday as trade slowed ahead of the Christmas holiday this coming weekend, with many markets closed either Friday or Monday or both.

Volume on the FTSE Eurofirst 300 was at just 65 percent of the 90-day daily average.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.53 percent to 5,983.49 in London, while the FTSE 250 was 0.38 percent higher to 11,550.2.

Chipmakers led both the 100 and the 250, with ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM) up 9.12 percent on the 100 after reports that Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) will introduce a new version of its Windows operating system to be run on ARM-manufactured chips, while CSR (LSE: CSR) gained 8.64 percent on the 250.

Carnival (LSE: CCL) added 5.3 percent, for the second-best result on the 100, after Standard & Poor’s raised its recommendation on the cruise line operator from “hold” to “buy” on Carnival’s statement Tuesday that its fiscal 2011 earnings could top estimates.

While Carnival turned in the best performance in the travel and leisure sector, online gambling site operator Betfair Group (LSE: BET) dropped 2.41 percent for the worst result in the sector, followed by a decline of 2.32 percent for bus and rail transport company Go-Ahead Group (LSE: GOG).

The biggest decliner on the 100 was private equity company 3i Group (LSE: III), which was down 1.55 percent, while the worst performance on the 250 came from investment managers Gartmore Group (LSE: GRT), which was down 3.66 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.28 percent to 1,148.81, but the Dax was down 0.14 percent to 7,067.92 and the CAC-40 and the IBEX each dropped 0.2 percent, to 3,919.71 and 10,183.5 respectively.

Asia-Pacific regional equities markets were mixed Wednesday, encouraged by gains in crude oil and metals prices and by higher retail sales in the United States, but hurt as investors continue to worry about the possibility of more moves by China to tighten monetary policy.

Same-store retail sales in the United States were up 4.5 percent last week, according to a new survey, as Americans finished up their holiday shopping.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.23 percent lower to 10,346.5 in Tokyo, while the Topix index fell 0.05 percent to 905.78 and the Mothers market dropped 0.89 percent to 429.25.

The real estate sector was higher as Mitsubishi Estate (TYO: 8802) was 1.8 percent higher while Mitsui Fudosan (TYO: 8801) added 2.4 percent.

Camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) gained 1.9 percent on media reports that its operating profit next fiscal year could be above expectations.

Sanyo Electric Co (TYO: 6764) was down 5.1 percent after its parent company, Panasonic (TYO: 6752), said it will delist it, while Panasonic itself was 1.5 percent lower on the news.

Traders saw gains as crude oil and metals prices advanced as copper set new record highs in London and New York trade on Tuesday, with Mitsui and Co (TYO: 8031) up 0.7 percent.

Other declines in the region came from India’s Sensex, which was 0.22 percent lower to 20,015.8, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.9 percent to 2,877.9 on concerns that China could do more to tighten monetary policy.

South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.05 percent to 2,038.11 while the Straits Times Index added 0.14 percent to 3,144.31.

The S&P/ASX200 was 0.14 percent higher to 4,778.4 in Australia, while the Sydney Ordinaries gained 0.15 percent to 4,869.6.

The Hang Seng was 0.22 percent higher to 23,045.2 in Hong Kong, while Taiwan’s Taiex was up 0.37 percent to 8,860.49.

New York markets were higher in early afternoon trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.24 percent to 11,560.3 while the S&P 500 had added 0.3 percent to 1,258.36 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.17 percent higher to 2,672.12.

Crude oil prices were up after US inventories fell more than expected last week, according to the weekly stockpiles report from the US Energy Information Administration, with West Texas Intermediate crude trading above $90 per barrel at just past 1 p.m. in New York.

Copper prices were up again slightly in New York after Tuesday’s record high, but at the same time precious metals prices were down a bit.

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