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Friday 28th of January 2011
January 25, 2011    

London Banks: HSBC, Standard Chartered gain; Lloyds, RBS decline

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by Elaine Frei
London Banks: HSBC, Standard Chartered ain; Lloyds, RBS decline

European equities markets were lower Tuesday as new data showed that the UK’s economy shrank in the fourth quarter and on continued concerns about the debit crisis in some parts of the region.

The FTSE 100 was 0.44 percent lower to 5,917.71 in London, while the FTSE 250 was down 0.62 percent to 11,501.6 after the Office for National Statistics said that the UK’s gross domestic produce fell by 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, against expectations that it would rise by 0.5 percent, hurting expectations that the Bank of England might start to raise interest rates soon.

London banks were mixed on the news as HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) added 0.11 percent and Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) was up 0.3 percent, but Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) was down 2.92 percent and Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) dropped 1.79 percent.

Homebuilders were also lower, with Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) down 3.48 percent wile Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) was 3.71 percent lower.

Miners were in focus on the 100, with four of the five biggest decliners coming from the sector as Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) was down 3.72 percent, Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) fell 3.57 percent, Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) was 3.17 percent lower and Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) dropped 3.17 percent.

The biggest decliner among miners was Centamin Egypt (LSE: CEY), which was down 4.14 percent, while the only gainer in the basic resources sector, which includes miners, was paper manufacturer Mondi (LSE: MNDI), which added 0.53 percent.

Over on the 250, the biggest decline came from health care products and consumer goods manufacturer PZ Cussons (LSE: PZC) fell 7.01 percent after it said that its operating profit was down 1.3 percent in its fiscal first half.

Fashion and accessories manufacturer Burberry Group (LSE: BRBY) was the biggest gainer on the 100, adding 3.2 percent, while datacenter Telecity Group (LSE: TCY) was up 4.9 percent for the best day on the 250.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.63 percent to 1,143.94 while the Dax fell 0.12 percent to 7,059.01, the CAC-40 was 0.34 percent higher to 4,019.62 and the IBEX dropped 1.4 percent to 10,664.4.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on the session.

The Nikkei 225 was up 1.15 percent to 10,464.4 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 1.32 percent to 929.28 and the Mothers market gained 2.2 percent to 459.7.

Most banks were higher in Tokyo, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) up 1.4 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) adding 2.9 percent, but Resona Holdings Inc (TYO: 8308) was down 5.1 percent after it announced a share sale after it did not make as much as hoped in an earlier effort.

The semiconductors sector was helped by results from US-based firms as Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) reported that profits were up in the fourth quarter and Intel (NAS: INTC) expanded a share-buyback.

Chip-maker Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) was up 2.3 percent, while Nikon Corp (TYO: 7731), which has ties to the semiconductors sector as well as making cameras, was up 4 percent.

Dainippon Screen Manufacturing (TYO: 7735) gained 4.4 percent on a jump in orders for its chip-making equipment in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Other gainers in the region included South Korea’s Kospi, which was up 0.22 percent to 2,086.67, while in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.43 percent to 4,909 and the S&P/ASX200 was 0.46 higher to 4,807.8.

Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.49 percent to 8,991.39.

The Hang Seng dropped 0.05 percent to 23,788.8 in Hong Kong, while the Straits Times index was down 0.14 percent to 3,181.15 in Singapore, the Shanghai Composite was 0.68 percent lower to 2,677.43 and India’s Sensex fell 0.95 percent to 18,969.4.

New York markets were lower in early afternoon trade in New York, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.28 percent to 11,946.8 while the S&P 500 had dropped 0.34 percent to 1,286.47 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.29 percent lower to 2,709.79.

Prices for crude oil were lower at around 1 p.m. in New York as West Texas Intermediate crude fell by $1.39 per barrel on concerns that inventories are growing and on a stronger dollar.

The stronger dollar also hurt gold prices, which were down by $11.80 per troy ounce in New York, while copper was 12 cents per pound lower just before 1 p.m. in New York.

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