UK banks are leading the decline again on the UK's main stockmarket index this morning after Merrill...
UK banks are leading the decline again on the UK's main stockmarket index this morning after Merrill lynch cut its recommendation for share sales from "neutral" to "overweight" and said recent share price gains were not justified given the outlook for earnings.
Shares in Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland Group have fallen by at least 2% because shares gained "too far too fast" according to Nick Watkins, analyst at Merrill, who has watched the FTSE All-Share Banks Index climb 28% since last month's terrorist attacks in the US.
HBOS, the newly merged Halifax and Bank of Scotland, fell 22p or 2.9% to 770p, Barclays delined 53p or 2.5% to £20.50 while the Royal Bank of Scotland dropped 30p or 1.8% to £16.27.
Abbey National, Northern Rock and Lloyds TSB has also had their positions cut from "accumulate" to "neutral" by Watkins.
All of this has had significant impact on the fall of the European markets, but activity in the Asian markets today was again driven by yesterday's developments in the US.
Asian chipmakers made huge gains and drove the Japanese Nikkei 225 index to its highest two-day gain in six months after Juniper Networks became the latest US computer-related company to say it will hit earnings forecasts, alongside Yahoo and General Electric Co.
The Nikkei 225 added 2.8% to 10,632.35 while the Singapore Straits Times Index rose 1.4%, taking a quarter of Asia's 12 major indices to within 1% of levels reached pre-US attacks.
Chipmakers in Korea saw gains, too, however, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost ground amid concerns that Chinese brokerages would be forced to dump shares because there has been illegal trading on the mainland which could be unveiled by either government probes or bankruptcy.
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