Daily news of the markets
London shares close modestly higher; NY firm again after recent leaps
Leading shares closed modestly higher today, after a volatile afternoon session, with the FTSE 100 just hanging on to the 5,900 level as Wall Street pushed forward once again after recent strong gains in reaction to benign US inflation reports, dealers said.|
At the close, the FTSE 100 index was 3.8 points firmer at 5,900.4, below the early morning peak of 5,915.0, having rallied from an afternoon low of 5,888.8.
All the broader FTSE indices closed higher, with the FTSE 250 index up 38.6 points at 9,486.6. Volume was moderate, with 2.289 bln shares changing hands in 324,882 deals.
On Wall Street, by London's close, the DJIA was 29.90 points higher at 11,357.00, having rallied from an opening decline, while the Nasdaq composite index was up 12.53 points at 2,162.07, also having bounced off early falls as recent tame inflation reports continued to provide relief across the Atlantic.
Today's US economic data, however, had little impact.
The US Labor Department reported that 312,000 workers applied for Jobless benefits, down by 10,000 from the previous week, a larger-than-expected drop.
US Leading Indicators fell 0.1 pct in July, following an increase of 0.1 in June. Analysts had expected an increase of 0.1 pct.
In London, strength in selected mining issues underpinned the modest blue chips gains today as rallying commodity prices provided support.
Sentiment was further boosted by a series of target increases across the sector by Goldman Sachs for Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Lonmin, and Vedanta Resources, although the broker trimmed its price target for Rio Tinto.
Goldman Sachs said it believes Vedanta remains the best 'buy' idea in the sector, and in reaction, Vedanta shares added 42 pence at 1,383.
Meanwhile Anglo American took on 47 pence at 2,420 also benefiting from an upgrade to 'overweight' from 'underweight' by Morgan Stanley after the group's strong interims two weeks ago.
And Lonmin firmed 70 pence at 2,795, BHP Billiton added 12 pence at 1,039, and Antofagasta firmed 3 3/4 pence at 434 3/4.
But shares in Rio Tinto shed 13 pence at 2,782, reversing earlier gains after news it has sold its 56.2 pct stake in Italian oil refiner Eurallumina to Russian aluminium producer RUSAL for an undisclosed sum.
Elsewhere Anglo-Dutch steel group Corus saw good demand today, adding 12 1/2 pence at 407 1/4 amid vague market talk that Russian firms Evraz and Severstal could be interested in bidding for the group.
Buyers also came in for Partygaming again today, with the stock gaining 4 3/4 pence at 113 1/2 after yesterday's market talk the group is looking to build a stake in Vienna-listed peer BWIN Interactive Entertainment.
Elsewhere, shares in the tourist-related firms bounced back following recent weakness, as fears relating to the terror alert in the UK receded.
British Airways was up 10 1/4 pence at 393.
BA and easyJet today both denied a report in The Times that they and other airlines, including Ryanair, are planning to sue the UK government for up to 300 mln stg to recover losses incurred since extra security measures were imposed after last Thursday's terror alert.
Shares in midcap EasyJet took on 12 1/4 pence at 169 1/4.
Over on the downside, selected oil heavyweights were weaker again as crude prices retreated once more as traders responded to a report of above-average US oil stockpiles yesterday and a lack of bad news to drive prices higher.
Royal Dutch Shell dropped 20 pence lower to 1,917, BG Group shed 7 pence at 708, but BP managed to rally a penny higher to 609 after being hit recently by the partial shut-down of its Prudhoe oil field in Alaska.
SABMiller, however, was the main blue chip casualty today, shedding 31 1/2 pence at 1,040 after UBS downgraded its stance to 'neutral' from 'buy', with a reduced price target of 1,100 pence from 1,200 pence.
UBS said the group has now partly recovered from its underperformance in the second quarter on the back of more favourable currencies against the pound and reassurance in the AGM statement that volume momentum is strong in the emerging markets.
And Rentokil Initial lost 4-1/4 pence at 161 also hit by a UBS downgrade to 'reduce' from 'neutral' with a reduced price target of 150 pence, down from 166 previously.
On the second line, GCAP Media shares topped the FTSE 250 risers list, up 16-1/4 pence at 208-1/4 amid vague bid speculation, albeit dismissed by traders.
Speculative interest also propelled AMEC shares higher, up 12-3/4 pence at 288, also lifted by the read-across from recent numbers from contractor Balfour Beatty.
Elsewhere, Homeserve shares climbed 106 pence higher to 1,723 bolstered by news that it has entered into a five-year marketing agreement with US energy company FirstEnergy Corp, leading Panmure Gordon to reiterate its 'buy' recommendation with a price target of 1,850.
And Weir Group added 19 pence at 456 after saying it expects full-year profits to top market estimates as it reported a 50 pct jump in interim pretax profits excluding restructuring costs to 37.2 mln stg.
On the downside with mid caps, shares in Northumbrian Water shed another 5 pence at 251 in continuing reaction to yesterday's downgrade to 'sell' from 'reduce' in a sector review.
Fellow water mid caps were also weak, with sector valuations impacted by yesterday's reports of the poor response to German firm RWE's auction of Thames Water - Pennon lost 11-1/2 pence at 462-1/2, and AWG fell back 22 pence to 1,247.
And Stagecoach gave back some of yesterday's good gains, shedding 1-1/4 pence at 116 following a UBS downgrade to 'neutral' from 'buy' on valuation grounds.
German shares close higher as MAN climbs on Volvo takeover speculations
The DAX 30 index closed 20.57 points or 0.35 pct higher at 5,833.51, after trading between 5,803.34-5,835.35 today. The MDAX was at 8,133.46, up 35.28 points or 0.44 pct, while the TecDAX was at 658.24, up 8.98 points or 1.38 pct.|
The DAX futures contract was at 5,845.00, down 3.50 points, while bund futures were at 116.84, up 0.13.
MAN was up 1.63 eur or 2.79 pct at 60.13, benefiting from a report that a US-based hedge fund is trying to drum up support for a bid for AB Volvo. Truckmaking is one of MAN's major businesses.
Dagens Industri, citing unnamed sources, reported today the hedge fund Castlerigg, run by Swedish investor Thomas Sandell, is trying to convince other institutional investors to support it in a bid.
Volvo's vote-rich A-shares have been in heavy demand in recent months, sparking various rumours that some unidentified entity is building a stake ahead of a bid.
Deutsche Post, the second best performer with a gain of 0.51 or 2.72 pct to 19.25, was a focus among buyers after rumours circulated in the market that Deutsche Bank may be interested in acquiring Deutsche Post's 50.1 pct controlling stake in Deutsche Postbank leading to a complete takeover of the group at some future date.
Deutsche Bank was up 0.27 or 0.31 pct at 88.72 while on the MDAX index, Deutsche Postbank added 0.22 or 0.37 to close at 60.40.
Back to big caps, RWE was the biggest loser, down 1.31 or 1.79 pct at 72.01 as investors took their gains as the utility sector has risen nearly 8 pct since end-June.
Lufthansa was 0.16 or 1.09 pct higher at 14.90, seemingly not affected by no-frills airline Air Berlin's announcement that it was acquiring DBA. A Lufthansa spokesman said nothing has changed in the airline industry in Germany even after Air Berlin's acquisition of rival DBA.
Siemens was up 0.41 or 0.63 pct at 65.99. It announced that it is buying a manufacturing site in Fort Madison, Iowa, to establish its first US wind turbine blade manufacturing facility.
Among banks, Commerzbank gained 0.20 or 0.77 pct to 26.26.
Car stocks were a prominent gainer, with DaimlerChrysler leading the sector with a gain of 0.51 or 1.25 pct to 41.33. BMW rose 0.38 to 39.97 after Auto-Bild, citing sources, said the company wants to build a four-wheel drive vehicle which will compete in the small-sized car segment dominated by Volkswagen AG's Golf model.
Paris shares close slightly higher tracking Wall St; techs lead
The CAC 40 index closed up 7.53 points or 0.15 pct at 5,144.84, on volume of 4 bln eur. 27 CAC 40 stocks closed higher and 12 lower. On the Matif, August CAC-40 futures were trading up 6.5 points at 5,143.5, while the euro stood at 1.2867 usd up from 1.2861 usd late yesterday.|
Despite the subdued tone on the French market today, dealers said the recovery of investor confidence is likely to prove durable, especially after the better than expected second quarter growth figures for France and Germany released earlier this week.
Total, by far the largest component of the CAC 40, fell 0.45 to 53.20 as oil prices continued to retreat from recent highs.
Societe Generale gave up 0.40 to 126.90 amid renewed speculation of European banking consolidation, with dealers saying the group could be interested in a bid for Spain's BBVA.
SocGen refused to comment on the rumour. CEO Daniel Bouton has said previously that the bank's acquisition efforts will focus on emerging markets, though he has not ruled out considering a deal in Europe.
Dealers also pointed out that investors are ready to take profits from the stock, which closed at an all-time high yesterday.
On the upside, STMicroelectronics, up 0.32 or 2.57 pct at 12.79, led a broad advance among technology issues, which continue to rally in line with recent gains for the Nasdaq composite, and in particular the better than expected results from Hewlett-Packard overnight.
Alcatel rose 0.15 to 9.62 and Capgemini was up 0.82 at 42.15, while among midcaps, Dassault Systemes gained 1.34 to 42.76 and Business Objects was up 0.77 at 21.85.
Publicis advanced 0.53 to 30.28 after ABN Amro upgraded the stock to 'buy' from 'add' on valuation grounds, and raised its price target to 33.50 eur from 27.
Amsterdam shares close marginally higher as US-exposed stocks outperform
The AEX closed 0.39 points or 0.08 pct higher at 463.24, after trading in the range 461.44-463.86. Government bonds traded broadly higher, while the euro stood at 1.2868 usd, up from 1.2743 usd late yesterday.|
Hagemeyer topped blue chip gainers, up 5.56 pct at 4.18, while Buhrmann put on 3.29 pct to 10.35.
Tech stocks also did well, with ASML rising 3.03 pct to 16.68 and Philips climbing 1.43 pct to 26.31 as investors reacted positively to a newspaper report the company has tapped various companies and private-equity groups for the purchase of its 33 pct stake in LG Philips LCD.
TomTom rose 2.02 pct to 31.78 eur after announcing the launch of its new TomTom ONE portable navigation device in North America.
Staffing stocks extended yesterday's gains after favourable Dutch temporary employment market data, with Vedior up 1.14 pct at 14.23 and USG People rising 1.71 pct to 53.65. Randstad added 0.73 pct to 41.63, also benefiting from news it will buy the HR services division of Getronics for 65 mln eur. The intended sale also helped Getronics, adding 0.18 pct to its price which closed at 5.53 eur.
Among financials, ABN Amro advanced 1.13 pct to 21.49 amid press speculation the Dutch bank could be interested in Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Fortis closed flat at 30.12, Aegon was 1.01 pct higher at 13.99 and ING gained 0.03 pct to 33.24.
Brewer Heineken led blue chip decliners, off 1.49 pct at 36.36, while fellow index heavyweight Royal Dutch Shell eased 1.05 pct to 27.30 and oil-services group SBM Offshore lost 1.22 pct to 20.98 as oil prices continued to ease.
Unilever also fell, down 0.88 pct at 18.03, while KPN lost 0.73 pct to 9.49 eur. Earlier the company said it signed a new 1.5 bln eur credit facility at improved terms, maturing in Aug 2013 and replacing a similar 1.5 bln facility which was due to expire in Aug 2009.
Bio-tech company Crucell was 1.05 pct down at 16.95. Earlier the company said it and manufacturing partner Royal DSM NV had signed a second deal to license Crucell's PER.C6 cell line technology to MorphoSys AG.
Construction firm BAM closed flat at 15.53. The company said today it has been awarded a 12 mln eur civil engineering contract by ProRail, operator of the Dutch railways infrastructure.
Van der Moolen rose 2.05 pct to 5.47 after the specialist stockbroker announced higher-than-expected second quarter net profit before exceptionals, though some charges caused it to post a bottom-line net loss.
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