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Friday 04th of March 2011
March 1, 2011    

Miner Centamin Egypt leads gains on FTSE 250

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by Elaine Frei
Miner Centamin Egypt leads gains on FTSE 250

European equities markets were lower Tuesday as investors continued to worry about unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.97 percent to 5,935.76 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.41 percent to 11,574.76.

Miners were mixed as Centamin Egypt (LSE: CEY) and Kenmare Resources (LSE: KMR) led gains on the 250, adding 8.19 percent and 6.78 percent respectively, while Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD) was the worst performer in the sector, dropping 3.99 percent.

Meanwhile, business processing ourtsourcer Capita Group (LSE: CPI) turned in the best performance on the 100, adding 5.17 percent after saying it is in talks with Zurich Financial Services Group (SIX: ZURN) about expanding a contract.

Business information services specialist United Business Media Ltd (LSE: UBM) had the worst day on the 250, dropping 8.63 percent, while cruise line operator Carnival (LSE: CCL) dropped 5.56 percent for the worst performance on the 100.

Carnival also the worst performer in the travel and leisure sector, followed by a 3.95 percent decline by InterContinental Hotels Group (LSE: IHG), while the seven gainers in the sector were led by online gambler Sportingbet (LSE: SBT), which added 1.79 percent.

The retail sector was mixed as online grocery retailer Ocado Group (LSE: OCDO) added 6.12 percent, while Kingfisher (LSE: KGF) dropped 4.48 percent, leading decliners in the sector, after Societe Generale downgraded the DIY retailer from “hold” to “sell”.

The chemicals sector was mostly higher, led by specialty chemicals group Elementis (LSE: ELM) with a gain of 6.77 percent, while Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) was up 2.1 percent.

Banks were lower in London, led by a 2.95 percent decline for HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) on downgrades from UBS, which cut the bank from “buy” to “neutral”, while Deutsche Bank cut its recommendation from “buy” to “hold”.

Barclays Bank was down 2.06 percent after it said it will buy Citigroup’s internet banking unit’s credit card business.

Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF), on the other hand, was up 2.74 percent after Evolution Securities upgraded the foods group from “neutral” to “buy”.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.65 percent to 1,161.59 while the Dax fell 0.67 percent to 7,223.3, the IBEX was 0.82 percent lower to 10,761.9 and the CAC-40 dropped 1.05 percent to 4,067.15.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher Tuesday, but Australia’s markets were lower as the Reserve Bank of Australia held interest rates steady at 4.75 percent, currently the highest rate in the developed world.

The Sydney Ordinaries were down 0.04 percent to 4,920.4 while the S&P/ASX200 dropped 0.11 percent to 4,826.4.

The Nikkei 225 was 1.22 percent higher to 10,754 in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 1.31 percent to 963.7 and the Mothers market gained 2.2 percent to 512.09, with gains coming after a report showed that 170,000 more people had jobs in January than were working in December, sending the unemployment rate down by 0.4 percent.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (TYO: 7011) added 4.6 percent on a media report that it won an order worth ¥20 billion to supply tankers to shipper Nippon Yusen KK (TYO: 9101).

Banks were higher as Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) was up 3.2 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) added 3.3 percent and Shinsei Bank Ltd (TYO: 8303) gained 7.7 percent after Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on the bank from “neutral” to “outperform”.

The Hang Seng was up 0.25 percent to 23,396.4 while the Shanghai composite added 0.48 percent to 2,918.92, Taiwan’s Taiex was 1.49 percent higher to 8,727.56, the Straits Times Index gained 1.9 percent to 3,067.6 in Singapore and the Sensex was up 3.5 percent to 18,446.5 in India.

New York equities markets were lower in early afternoon trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.66 percent to 12,145.2 while at the same time the S&P 500 dropped 0.82 percent to 1,316.34 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.01 percent lower to 2,754.07.

Crude oil prices resumed their climb, with April contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude up $1.74 to $98.71 per barrel, while Brent crude lately added $2.21 to $114.01 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Metals prices were higher in New York, with gold up $18.60 to $1,428.50 per troy ounce as investors continued to seek safe investments on concerns about civil unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.

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