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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Volatility haunts global shares
Jamie Robertson
By Jamie Robertson
Business presenter, BBC World

These are nervous times and volatile markets.

BBC Global 30

The bailing-out of one hedge fund by Bear Stearns and the closure of another by Cambridge Place of the UK sent nasty shivers through the markets, which have become increasingly nervous about the infamous sub-prime mortgage market.

Interest rates threaten to go higher in Europe and everywhere is the talk of a "flight to quality".

The Global 30 well demonstrates the volatility that is affecting the markets.

The biggest loser of last month was Tesco, falling almost 9%, while the biggest gainer, the Chinese oil producer CNOOC, was up 18%.

In between, there were huge differences in performance. Yet it's hard to divide the winners and losers into camps.

BBC GLOBAL 30 BIG GAINERS
CNOOC (Red Chip): 18.09%
EDF: 15.24%
China Mobile (Red Chip): 13.27%
BHP Billiton: 12.28%
Siemens AG: 7.67%

Tesco should be described as a defensive stock, but its forecasts disappointed the market and it said its sales were growing at the slowest pace in a year.

The mining and oil companies have done well, thanks to rising oil and metals prices, although Anglo American was dragged down 3% by threats of a strike at its Chilean Collahuasi mine.

Two of the world's biggest power companies, Exelon (down 8.2%) and Tokyo Electric Power (down 4.9%) have fallen sharply, while Electricite de France (up 15.2%) goes from strength to strength.

It is enjoying what is considered to be a bright future for its nuclear power plants, which currently provide about half of all of Europe's nuclear power.

BBC GLOBAL 30 BIG LOSERS
Tesco: -8.77%
Exelon Corporation: -8.23%
Citigroup: -7.20%
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial: -5.53%
Microsoft: -5.27%

What's more, there are hopes that the liberalisation of the energy markets will allow it to increase its artificially low charges to companies.

On the negative side, the French competition authorities have ruled that EDF must provide its rivals with power at a price that allows them to compete.

To add to the confusion, the Global 30 index shuffled around three of its members, with two changes in Asia and one in the US.

NEW ENTRANTS

The arrival of East Japan Railway, not just the country's biggest railway operator but the world's, is symptomatic of renewed interest in defensive stocks in Japan.

But it has also benefited from its large building development programme and expanding interests in shops, station restaurants, hotels, shopping centres and office building management. Its shares are up 11% this last year.

Canon was bumped out of the Global 30 two years ago but is now back in again, as it expands its global lead in digital camera sales, and its shares are up 30% over the last year.

It is projecting an eighth year of record profit, thanks to lower production and component costs for its cameras.

In the fourth quarter, Canon will also start sales of a new type of flat-screen television, surface-conduction electron-emitter display, or SED, which produces clearer images and consumes less power.

Pfizer, the pharmaceuticals giant in the US, left the Global 30 a year ago and is also back in.

Its shares have hardly performed well, up just 9% since last June. That was when the company booted out Chief Executive Officer Hank McKinnell to help quell mutinous investors.

But it has outperformed Johnson and Johnson over the last twelve months and so ranks as the biggest US healthcare company by market capitalisation.

Mr McKinnell's replacement, Jeffrey Kindler, has announced plans to slash 10% of Pfizer's workforce.

ON THE WAY OUT

Johnson and Johnson lost its place at the top table, largely because of safety concerns over its treatment for anaemia, Procrit, and demands to have its use restricted.

The drug brought in some $3.18bn in sales last year.

Both it and Epogen, made by Amgen, are to be examined by a US House Committee hearing on kidney treatment, as the two drugs are the biggest single expense in the US Medicare health plan for the elderly and disabled.

Its shares are up just 3% over the last year.

With interest rates rising in Japan, retailer Seven & I Holdings, the owner of Seven-Eleven convenience stores, hit a slump in spending, as its convenience store profit dropped for the first time in 27 years.

The group is closing some 450 Seven-Eleven stores across the country. Its shares have dropped some 8% over the last year.

Samsung Electronics, having been one of the stars of the global 30 in its first year, became, in its second year, a casualty of a 33% fall in DRAM memory chip prices, and also the strong local currency, the won, against the dollar.

As a result, it said it was lowering its spending on Liquid Crystal Display production by 44% this year. Its shares are down 6% this last 12 months.




BBC Global 30 intraday chart
value
change
%
5707.15
20.65
up
0.36

MARKET DATA - 11:37 UK

FTSE 100
5428.78up
22.84 0.42%
Dax
5732.06up
18.55 0.32%
Cac 40
3783.91up
14.37 0.38%
Dow Jones
10403.79up
78.53 0.76%
Nasdaq
2273.57up
35.31 1.58%
Data delayed by at least 15 minutes



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