Vodafone, on the largest stocks in the FTSE 100, helped to keep the UK's main index up by mid-mornin...
Vodafone, on the largest stocks in the FTSE 100, helped to keep the UK's main index up by mid-morning trading after it said a loss at its Japanese unit won't impact its earnings, even though plans by HBOS to have another share sale have not been met so happily.
HBOS says it plans to raise £1.37bn by selling up to 150 million shares, but its 2001 net income also fell to £1.68bn from £1.78m a year earlier and HBOS' stock price subsequently dropped 34p, or 4.2% to 771p.
The FT-SE 100 index rose 44.80 points, or 0.9%, to 5183.80, and Vodafone rose 6.5p, or 5% to 135.75p, however, other banking sector stocks lost, including Lloyds TSB Group Plc which dropped 41p, or 5.4%, to 714.5p and Barclays fell 37p, or 1.7% to £21.07.
BT Group has been having a better day and rose 7p, or 2.7% this morning to 269.5p after announcing yesterday it plans to cut the price of faster Internet access to encourage expansion of broadband services and improve future profitability.
But CGNU fell 4.6% to 760.5p too after declaring the firm, as the UK's largest life insurer, would have to lower its dividend to 23p this year from 38p in 2001 to finance expansion. Profit did rise 41% to £2bn last year because it charged clients more to cover property and cars and paid fewer storm claims.
Over in the US, yesterday, stocks' fell for the first time in three days as a report showing a bigger-than-expected drop in consumer confidence dented optimism the economy is rebounding.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 30.45 points, or 0.3%, to 10,115.26 after surging to a seven-week high yesterday, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 3.02 points, or 0.2%, to 1766.86 and the S&P 500 index fell a fraction to 1109.38 points.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell this month from a five-month high, reflecting less optimism about employment and income.
Intel and General Electric led the decline, but discount retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores and Target limited the drop in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index as investors bet people who are concerned over losing their jobs and skeptical about a recovery will keep seeking bargains.
The opposite was seen in Asian trading today as the Nikkei 225 stock average rallied to a seven-week high.
The Nikkei 225 rose 3.6 percent to 10,573.09 after the government proposed limits on trades that profit from share price declines, which it blamed for sending the index to an 18-year low this month.
Mizuho Holdings and other banks made up more than a tenth of the Topix index's 2.4% gain to 1007.18 points and exporters such as Honda Motor advanced after the Japanese currency's slump to within 1 yen of a three-year low against the dollar yesterday increased the value of their overseas sales.
In other markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1%, led by mainland companies such as China Mobile (Hong Kong), following a report that China's economy is ``capable'' of expanding by 7% this year. And Korea's Kospi index also rose 2.6% after industrial output beat forecasts.
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