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Monday 07th of February 2011
February 3, 2011    

Aggreko, Ashtead Group lead gains on FTSE 100, 250

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by Elaine Frei
Aggreko, Ashtead Group lead gains on FTSE 100, 250

Equities markets in Europe were mostly lower Thursday, with declines coming despite good economic news that included new data showing that Eurozone manufacturing and services expanded in January, with output gains led by France and Germany, while the US services sector was also shown to have expanded last month and first-time jobless claims in the United States dropped last week.

The FTSE 100 was 0.28 percent lower to 5,983.34 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.27 percent to 11,575.8.

Rentals groups led both the 100 and the 250 as power generator rental group Aggreko (LSE: AGK) added 4.91 percent on the 100, while Ashtead Group (LSE: AHT), which offers rentals of industrial equipment, gained 4.52 percent on the 250.

Pace (LSE: PIC), which makes set-top boxes for cable and satellite television systems, dropped 5.77 percent to lead declines on the 250 after topping that index’s gainers list just yesterday, while oil and gas explorer Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSA, RDSB) was the biggest decliner on the 100 as ‘B’ shares were down 3.27 percent and ‘A’ shares were 2.98 percent lower after profits lagged behind analyst estimates in the fourth quarter.

The energy sector was mixed on the session as John Wood Group (LSE: WG), which offers engineering services to the oil and gas industry, added 2.11 percent for the best performance in the sector, while wind turbine gearbox manufacturer Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN) was the sector’s worst performer with a decline of 5.31 percent.

The London banking sector was mixed with Royal Bank of Scotland leading gainers as it added 2.33 percent, while Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) dropped 2.11 percent for the worst performance in the sector.

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) was up 3.59 percent despite reporting a loss last quarter due to legal costs, seeing gains after it announced a stock buyback.

The travel and leisure sector was mostly lower, with declines led by online gambler PartyGaming (LSE: PRTY), which dropped 4.1 percent, while the few gains in the sector were led by hotels operator InterContinental Hotels Group (LSE: IHG) which added 2.91 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.13 percent to 1,160.92 while the CAC-40 fell 0.74 percent to 4,036.59 and the IBEX dropped 1.36 percent to 10,860.7, but the Dax managed a gain of 0.14 percent to 7,193.68.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were closed in observance of Lunar New Year, and markets that remained open were mixed.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.25 percent lower to 10,431.4 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was down 0.22 percent to 927.57 and the Mothers market dropped 1.15 percent to 465.41, with declines coming on new clashes in Cairo between supporters of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and protestors demanding that the president step down, and on disappointing quarterly reports from some Japanese companies.

The biggest decline on the Nikkei came from the electronics sector, where Ricoh (TYO: 7752) dropped 9.9 percent after earnings in its fiscal third quarter missed analyst projections and JPMorgan Chase cut its recommendation from “neutral” to “underweight”.

Video-game developer Konami (TYO: 9766) was down 7.8 percent on its report that net income was down 9.5 percent in the past nine months on declining sales.

Consumer electronics group Panasonic (TYO: 6752) fell 3.2 percent on disappointing results.

Carmakers were lower, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) down 1.2 percent, while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) fell 1.5 percent and Mazda Motor (TYO: 7261) dropped 2.5 percent.

Australia’s markets saw gains as the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.44 percent to 4,919.3 and the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.5 percent to 4,820.6 while in India the Sensex was up 1.98 percent to 18,449.3.

New York markets were lower in early afternoon trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.04 percent to 12,037.7, while at the same time the S&P 500 had dropped 0.08 percent to 1,302.99 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.03 percent lower to 2,748.73.

Crude oil prices were lower just before 1 p.m. in New York, with March contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude down 40 cents to $90.46 per barrel, while Brent crude was 20 cents lower to $102.14 per barrel at last report from the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Metals were mixed, with April gold adding $22 to $1,354.10 per troy ounce in midday trade in New York, with prices volatile as good economic news competed with concerns about the situation in Egypt for the attention of investors.

Silver was also higher, but copper was down slightly in New York.

Copper set a new record high in London trade during the session, rising to $10,000 per tonne before dropping to $5.50 below Wednesday’s close to $9,939.50 per tonne in late afternoon trade on the London Metal Exchange.

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