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Thursday 03rd of March 2011
February 28, 2011    

Taylor Wimpey leads homebuilders higher in London

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by Elaine Frei
Taylor Wimpey leads homebuilders higher in London

European equities markets were mostly higher Monday, helped by declining oil prices and a report that the Chicago purchasing managers’ index was up to 71.2 in February, from 68.8 in January and expected to fall to 67.5, showing that manufacturing activity in the Chicago region of the US continues to expand.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.12 percent to 5,994.01 in London, but the FTSE 250 added 0.11 percent to 11,621.3.

Homebuilders and property developers were higher in London.

Among homebuilders, Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) added 4.58 percent for the best performance on the 250, while Redrow (LSE: RDW) was up 4 percent and Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) gained 3.37 percent, while real estate developer Hammerson (LSE: HMSO) led developers as it added 3.17 percent, followed by a 2.55 percent gain for British Land Co (LSE: BLND).

There were more gains than losses in the energy sector, with Essar Energy (LSE: ESSR) adding 3.48 percent to lead the sector as well as gains on the 100 after Credit Suisse initiated coverage with a rating of “outperform” and a target share price of 600 pence, while wind turbine gearbox manufacturing Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN) dropped 3.16 percent for the worst performance in the sector.

Most miners were higher, led by a 3.51 percent gain for Kenmare Resources (LSE: KMR), while a few decliners in the sector were led by Centamin Egypt (LSE: CEY), which dropped 4.36 percent.

Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) was the biggest decliner on the 100, dropping 5.89 percent despite a full-year profit of more than $13 billion after it missed analyst estimates, while card protection insurance provider CPP Group (LSE: CPP) was down 5.67 percent for the worst performance on the 250.

Most London banks were lower, led by a 4.65 percent drop for HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA), but Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC) added 2.09 percent.

Home furnishings retailer Dunelm Group (LSE: DNLM) led most of the retail sector lower as it dropped 3.47 percent, while the four gainers in the sector were led by online grocery retailer Ocado Group (LSE: OCDO), which added 1.52 percent.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.83 percent to 1,169.28 while the IBEX added 0.26 percent to 10,850.8, the CAC-40 was 0.98 percent higher to 4,110.35 and the Dax gained 1.21 percent to 7,272.32.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on the session, with gains coming after oil prices fell on reports that some oil was back in production in Libya in areas now controlled by anti-government demonstrators, and even though civil unrest was said to have spread to Oman over the weekend.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.92 percent to 10,624.1 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.99 percent to 951.27 and the Mothers market gained 2.91 percent to 501.06.

News that Mizuho Financial Group (TYO: 8411) is in talks to convert Mizuho Trust & Banking Co (TYO: 8404), Mizuho Investors Securities (TYO: 8607) and Mizuho Securities (TYO: 8606) into wholly-owned subsidiaries, sent shares in all four higher, with Mizuho FG adding 1.82 percent, while Mizuho Trust & Banking Co was up 5.95 percent, Mizuho Investors Securities was 7 percent higher and Mizuho Securities gained 12.05 percent.

In the electronics sector, Sony (TYO: 6758) was up 0.9 percent and Pioneer Corp (TYO: 6773) added 4.5 percent, but NEC Corp (TYO: 6701) was down 3.4 percent after it cut its full-year outlook for the current fiscal year, moving Goldman Sachs to downgrade the electronics group’s shares from “buy” to “neutral”, while Nikko Cordial downgraded it from “neutral” to “underperform”.

Robot maker Fanuc (TYO: 6954) added 3.8 percent.

In the automobile manufacturing sector, Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) was up 0.1 percent, while Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) added 1.7 percent.

Other gainers in the region included Taiwan’s Taiex, which was 0.68 percent higher to 8,599.65, while the Sensex added 0.69 percent to 17,823.4 in India, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.92 percent to 2,905.05 and the Hang Seng gained 1.42 percent to 23,338 in Hong Kong.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 0.05 percent to 4,922.6 and the S&P/ASX200 was down 0.12 percent to 4,830.5 after computer problems on the exchange in Sydney caused an early closure, with speculation that they might not be able to resume trade on time on Tuesday.

The Straits Times Index fell 0.48 percent to 3,010.51 in Singapore and South Korea’s Kospi was 1.23 percent lower to 1,939.3.

New York equities markets were mixed in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6 percent to 12,202.8 and the S&P 500 was up 0.37 percent to 1,324.72, but the Nasdaq Composite was 0.15 percent lower to 2,776.9.

Crude oil prices were mixed, with April contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude down 5 cents to $97.83 per barrel in midday trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was up 10 cents at last report, to $112.24 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Metals prices were higher in New York trade, with silver up nearly $1 to $33.90 per troy ounce in midday trade, a gain of nearly 3 percent.

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