The travel and leisure sector was in focus in London Thursday as bookmaker William Hill (LSE: WMH), which operates both brick and mortar betting shops and online, added 7.46 percent to lead gains on the FTSE 250, but online gambler Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (LSE: BPTY) dropped 4.99 percent to lead declines on the 250.
Elsewhere in the mixed travel and leisure sector, TUI Travel (LSE: TT) was up 3.02 percent on an upgraded recommendation from Deutsche Bank, which raised the travel agent from “hold” to “buy” as it anticipated half-year results, and InterContinental Hotels Group (LSE: IHG) was 0.39 percent higher even though US hotel operator Marriott International (LSE: MAR) reported its net income down more than expected in the first quarter, while International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE: IAG) was down 1.66 percent and cruise line operator Carnival (LSE: CCL) was 2.34 percent lower.
London’s markets were mixed on the session, with the FTSe 100 down 0.07 percent while the FTSE 250 added 0.46 percent to 11,810.5 as miners and the energy sector were both mostly higher, most homebuilders saw gains, and banks were higher, but the telecommunications sector was mostly lower
Most other equities markets in Europe were higher as most of the region prepared to take a four-day weekend to observe the Easter holiday, with the FTSE Eurofirst 300 up 0.43 percent to 1,142.75 while the CAC-40 added 0.43 percent to 4,021.88, the IBEX was 0.46 percent higher to 10,584.1 and the Dax gained 0.64 percent to 7,295.49.
Markets in Asia and the Pacific region were also higher on the strength of encouraging quarterly reports from some US corporations.
The Nikkei 225 added 0.82 percent to 9,685.77 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 0.54 percent to 841.72 and the Mothers market gained 0.71 percent to 446.22 as shares related to chipmakers made gains on profits that were ahead of estimates as US-based chipmaker Qualcomm (NAS: QCOM) handed in its quarterly results, while the electronics sector and carmakers also saw gains, but Tokyo Electric Power (TYO: 9501) took another hit as the Japanese government established a 20-kilomenter (12 mile) no-enter zone around its damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power facility.
The Shanghai Composite was up 0.65 percent to 3,026.67, India’s Sensex added 0.67 percent to 19,602.2, the Straits Times Index was 0.91 percent higher to 3,194.73 in Singapore, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.01 percent to 24,138.3, Australia’s Sydney Ordinaries gained 1.12 percent to 4,995.7 while the S&P/ASX200 added 1.13 percent to 4,913.8, the Kospi was 1.32 percent higher to 2,198.54 in South Korea, and Taiwan’s Taiex gained 1.64 percent to 8,957.65.
Wall Street was higher ahead of its three-day weekend for Easter, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.32 percent to 12,493.9 at just past 1 p.m. local time, while the S&P 500 had added 0.51 percent to 1,337.11 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.57 percent higher to 2,818.45.
Crude oil prices were mixed at nearly 1 p.m. in New York, with June contracts for West Texas Intermediate up on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude had declined slightly in London trade.
Metals prices were higher as the US dollar weakened, with gold up $9.40 to $1,508.30 per troy ounce at nearly 1 p.m. in New York after hitting a new intraday high above $1,509 per troy ounce earlier.