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Inchcape leads 250 higher in London

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by Elaine Frei
Inchcape leads 250 higher in London

European equities markets were mixed Thursday as companies in various sectors turned in disappointing quarterly reports and on concerns that legislators in the United States still has not come to an agreement regarding raising the debt ceiling.

The FTSE 100 was 0.28 percent higher to 5,873.21 in London, while the FTSE 250 dropped 0.3 percent to 11,615.6 as many sectors were mixed, banks were higher and most insurers were up but chemicals groups and most of the travel and leisure sector were lower.

Automobile retailer Inchcape (LSE: INCH) was the best performer in a mixed retail sector as it added 8.42 percent to lead gains on the 250, while defense and aerospace group BAE Systems (LSE: BA) was up 4.89 percent as the best performer on the 100.

On the other hand, computer hardware and software group Kofax (LSE: KFX) dropped 17.35 percent as it turned in the worst performance on the 250 and cruise operator Carnival (LSE: CCL) dropped 2.96 percent to lead the list of declines on the 100 after Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE: RCL) cut its profits forecast.

Still in the travel and leisure sector, online gambler Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (LSE: BPTY) led declines in the mostly-lower sector as it dropped 4.35 percent while most travel-related shares were down, including a retreat of 0.81 percent for International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE: IAG) on disappointing earnings reports for other European air carriers, while travel agent Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) was down 1.89 percent, but bus, rail and tram operator National Express Group (LSE: NEX) added 4.39 percent to lead the few gainers in the sector.

Telecommunications company BT Group (LSE: BT) added 3.78 percent on a 2.6 percent gain in fiscal first quarter operating profit and after the UK government lost a bid to limit its liability for pensions for company employees, put in place when BT privatized in 1984.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.06 percent to 1,089.39 and the IBEX added 0.14 percent to 9.657, but the CAC-40 was down 0.57 percent to 3,712.66 and the Dax dropped 0.86 percent to 7,190.06.

Asia-Pacific markets were lower Thursday after China’s commercial lenders were prohibited by the government from renewing loans to local-government financing vehicles, as the crisis over the debt ceiling continued in the United States, and as the yen strengthened to hurt exporters in Japan.

The Nikkei 225 was down 1.45 percent to 9,901.35 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was 1.25 percent lower to 848.37 and the Mothers market dropped 2.66 percent to 470.73 as traders were lower on Wednesday’s declines in metals and crude oil prices, steelmakers dropped on reduced demand and banks were hurt by fears that ratings agencies could cut the US credit rating.

Additionally, Japan’s economy minister implied that the government is not ready to intervene to pull the yen lower, and likely will not do so at least until next week’s deadline in the United States to raise the debt ceiling has come and gone.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (TYO: 8316) was down 1.4 percent while Mitsubishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) dropped 1.5 percent, while among exporters, camera and copier maker Canon (TYO: 7751) was 1.9 percent lower while carmaker Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203) dropped 1.9 percent.

Gainers in Tokyo included Hitachi Construction Machinery (TYO: 6305), which was 3.8 percent higher on an increased net income forecast.

The Straits Times index was down 0.12 percent to 3,189.85 in Singapore, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.54 percent to 2,708.78, Taiwan’s Taiex was 0.57 percent lower to 8,767.2, the Kospi dropped 0.85 percent to 2,155.85 in South Korea, India’s Sensex was down 1.21 percent to 18.209.5, and in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 1.59 percent to 4,539.2 and the S&P/ASX200 was 1.62 percent lower to 4,463.8.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng managed to add 0.13 percent to 22,570.7.

New York equities markets were higher in midday trade on separate reports that pending home sales were up by 2.4 percent in June over May while new jobless claims dropped by 24,000 to 398,000 last week, more of a decline than expected and below 400,000 for the first time in nearly four months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.25 percent to 12,333.2 at shortly before 1 p.m. in New York, while the S&P 500 had added 0.5 percent to 1,311.44 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.97 percent higher to 2,791.56.

Crude oil prices were slightly lower at midday in New York, with West Texas Intermediate down by 40 cents per barrel while Brent crude was recently reported down 7 cents from Wednesday’s close.

Gold and silver were both down, but copper had added 2 cents per pound on a continuing strike at Escondida mine in Chile.

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News posted: July 28, 2011

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