Intertek Group adds 5 percent on revenues, purchase news

| March 7, 2011 | 0 Comments
Intertek Group adds 5 percent on revenues, purchase news

European equities markets were mostly lower Monday as oil prices rose again on more fighting in Libya, with government planes attacking anti-government forces at an oil port and the rebels calling for a no-fly zone to protect them from further air attacks even though they dismissed the idea of foreign intervention on the ground.

Also causing concerns was a move by Moody’s Investors Service to cut Greece’s government bond rating from Ba1 to B1 amid a negative outlook.

The FTSE 100 was 0.28 percent lower to 5,973.78 in London, although the FTSE 250 managed to add 0.21 percent to 11,747.9.

Safety testing specialists Intertek Group (LSE: ITRK) added 5 percent to lead gains on the 100 on revenues that exceeded predictions and after it said it will purchase technical and safety services group Moody International.

The biggest decliner on the 100 was satellite communications group Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT), which dropped 13.37 percent even though it said net profits increased by 71 percent in 2010 after business slowed down in the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 and after fourth quarter sales were below predictions.

While most miners were lower on the session as copper prices fell, Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) added 5.43 percent to lead gains on the 250, while Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) dropped 3.55 percent as the worst performer in the sector, followed by a 2.41 percent decline for Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO).

Kitchen cabinet maker Howden Joinery Group (LSE: GFRM) was down 5.03 percent for the worst performance on the 250.

The energy sector was mostly higher, led by wind turbine gearbox manufacturer Hansen Transmissions International (LSE: HSN) with a gain of 3.25 percent, while Salamander was the worst of six decliners in the sector as it dropped 0.54 percent.

Retailers were mixed, with sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International (LSE: SDI) up 2.37 percent for the best day in the sector, while internet grocery retailer Ocado Group (SLE: OCDO) down 2.59 percent to lead the sector’s decliners.

In the travel and leisure sector, International Consolidated Airlines Group added 1.63 percent to lead gains, while internet gambler PartyGaming (LSE: PRTY) dropped 2.12 percent as the worst performer in the sector.

Fashion house Burberry Group (LSE: BRBY) added 3.63 percent after French luxury retailer LVMH (Euronext: MC) said it will buy a 50.4 percent stake in Italian jeweler Bulgari (BIT: BUL) and on a Goldman Sachs upgrade of luxury retailers to “buy”.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower as the fighting continued in Libya, sending oil prices higher again.

The Nikkei 225 was down 1.76 percent to 10,505 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was 1.46 percent lower and the Mothers market dropped 1.44 percent to 517.43 after Japan’s Foreign Minister resigned, raising the possibility that political issues could put the fight against debt there in the back seat amid concerns that the Prime Minister could also resign or call elections.

Carmakers were lower, with Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) down 2.38 percent after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating, while Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) dropped 3.1 percent.

Fast Retailing (TYO: 9983), meanwhile, was 2.31 percent lower.

Elsewhere in the region, the Hang Seng fell 0.41 percent to 23,313.2 in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s Taiex was down 0.8 percent to 8,713.79, the Kospi was 1.22 percent lower to 1,980.27 in South Korea.

In Australia, the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 1.26 percent to 4,895.9, while the S&P/ASX200 was down 1.37 percent to 4,797.9, and in India the Sensex was 1.43 percent lower to 18,222.7.

On the other hand, the Straits Times Index was up 0.17 percent to 3,066.52, while the Shanghai Composite gained 1.83 percent to 2,996.21.

New York markets were lower as well, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.82 percent to 12,070.3 just before 1 p.m. local time, while the S&P 500 had dropped 1.04 percent to 1,307.37 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.91 percent lower to 2,731.45.

Crude oil prices continued their climb, with April contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude up $1.20 to $105.62 per barrel in midday trade after rising to near $107 per barrel in electronic trade earlier in the day, while Brent crude was last said to be up 58 cents to $116.55 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

The gains for oil prices came as investors worried that the situation in Libya and unrest in other oil production nations in North Africa and the Middle East could threaten supplies for months.

Prices for gold and silver were higher in midday trade in New York, but copper was down 16 cents to $4.33 per pound.

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