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Interest rates and Japan quake affect FTSE.

Byline: Ormiston Brewin

The FTSE 100 Index closed down 33.8 points at 6007.4 following news of a strong aftershock quake in Japan and the announcement of key interest rate decisions.

The Bank of England''s Monetary Policy Committee left the UK bank rate at 0.5%. However, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised Eurozone interest rates by 0.25% to 1.25%. The increase was the first change in almost three years and had been expected following the recent rise in inflation.

The best performer within the FTSE 100 Index was Aggreko, with the shares gaining 1.3% to close at 1696p. The worst performing stock was GKN, with the shares closing 4.4% lower at 199.9p. Within the North Index D1 Oils was the standout performer, with the shares gaining 45.6% to close up at 3.125p. The company announced that Siemens are undertaking a trial to use crude jatropha oil (CJO), a biodiesel produced from the Jatropha Curcas plant, to fuel turbines on a high speed ferry. The trial comes in addition to the trials of CJO by two other European multinational corporations. Martin Jarvis, CEO, said that demand for the CJO, both in India and globally continues to significantly exceed supply and the directors believe that a positive trial outcome may result in significant demand for the company''s future crop harvests.

Elsewhere, shares in Hargreaves Services fell in value after the company provided an update on the Tower Colliery project in South Wales. The company aims to establish a surface mine at the iconic site and had expected a planning decision in March.

Despite the extended process, management is pleased with the progress being made and a decision is now expected by the summer. The shares closed down 1.2% at 900.25p.

Brewin Dolphin acts as broker to Hargreaves Services.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 8, 2011
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