GKN adds 4.5 percent to lead FTSE 100 gains

| February 16, 2011 | 0 Comments
GKN adds 4.5 percent to lead FTSE 100 gains

European equities markets saw gains Wednesday, helped by positive earnings reports and a reported gain in US housing starts overall last month, although single-family home starts dropped by 1 percent.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.8 percent to 6,085.27 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 0.49 percent to 11,807.3.

Automotive and aerospace engineering group GKN (LSE: GKN) was up 4.48 percent to lead gains on the 100 after Investec Securities initiated coverage with a “buy” recommendation, while government services specialist Serco Group (LSE: SRP) dropped 1.45 percent for the worst performance on the index.

Premier Foods (LSE: PFD) led gains on the 250 for the second session in a row, adding 8.35 percent on the session, while facilities management business Mitie Group (LSE: MTO) dropped 5.75 percent to lead declines on the index.

Property developer Land Securities (LSE: LAND) added 3.56 percent after HSBC upped its recommendation from “underweight” to “neutral”, while British Land (LSE: BLND) traded even after HSBC upgraded the developer from “neutral” to “overweight” and Goldman Sachs reiterated its “buy” recommendation.

Banks were higher after French bank Societe Generale (Euronext: GLE) issued a strong earnings report, with the London banking sector’s gains led by Royal Bank of Scotland, which was up 3.96 percent.

Miners were mixed as BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) dropped 1.44 percent even though its fiscal first-half profits were up substantially but remained within expectations, while gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) dropped 2.56 percent to lead declines in the sector.

In the energy sector, Exillon Energy (LSE: EXI) led gains as it added 5.52 percent, while energy technology supplier Hunting plc (LSE: HTG) was down 1.67 percent for the worst performance in the sector.

Automobile retailer Inchcape (LSE: INCH) added 6.42 percent to lead gains in the retail sector, while Dixons Retail, which sells consumer electronics, dropped 2.22 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.6 percent to 1,187.09 while the Dax added 0.19 percent to 7,414.3, the CAC-40 was 1 percent higher to 4,151.26 and the IBEX gained 2.05 percent to 11,047.8.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly higher.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.57 percent to 10,808.3 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 0.49 percent to 967.3 but the Mothers market was 0.41 percent lower to 490.59 with gains for the Nikkei and Topix coming on a weaker yen and on positive broker comment after Nomura raised its outlook for growth in Japan.

Exporters were helped by the weakening of the yen, with consumer electronics giant Sony (TYO: 6758) added 2.6 percent while video game maker Nintendo (TYO: 7974), which makes more than 80 percent of its sales outside Japan, was up 4.3 percent.

Shares related to the semiconductors sector were higher, with Tokyo Electron (TYO: 8035) up 2 percent, while Elpida Memory (TYO: 6665) gained 3.6 percent.

Toshiba (TYO: 6502), with interests in a number of sectors, was 3.2 percent higher after Nikko Cordial securities raised its recommendation from “neutral” to “outperform”, while Asahi Glass (TYO: 5201) added 2.2 percent on a Goldman Sachs upgrade from “sell” to “neutral”.

Banks were higher as Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) gained 0.6 percent, Mizuho Financial Group (TYO: 8411) was up 1.8 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) was 2.3 percent higher and Resona Holdings (TYO: 8308) added 5.4 percent.

Other gainers in the region included the Sensex, which was up 0.15 percent to 18,300.9 in India, while the Straits Times Index added 0.46 percent to 3,094.72, the Shanghai Composite gained 0.85 percent to 2,923.9 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.12 percent higher to 12,157.

Taiwan’s Taiex was down 0.1 percent to 8,712.96, while the S&P/ASX200 and the Sydney Ordinaries each dropped 0.02 percent, to 4,930.2 and 5,018.6 respectively, in Australia, and South Korea’s Kospi was 1.06 percent lower to 1,989.11.

New York equities markets were higher in early afternoon trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.34 percent to 12,268.4 while the S&P 500 had added 0.44 percent to 1,333.79 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.5 percent higher to 2,818.41.

Crude oil prices were higher, with Brent crude trading at nearly $104 per barrel in London on more unrest in the Middle East and on reports from an Israeli official that two Iranian gunboats were headed through the Suez Canal, raising concerns that oil shipments in the region might be disrupted.

Metals prices were mixed as gold was higher but copper and silver both declined.

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