- FTSE rises 33 points early on
- Chinese lending, new Italian PM lift sentiment
- RSA up on capital raising talk
techMARK 2,838.60 +0.24%
FTSE 100 6,695.20 +0.47%
FTSE 250 16,141.35 +0.19%
The FTSE put in a better than first anticipated performance in early trade, lifted by a strong performance in Asia overnight and ahead of a data-heavy week.
Stocks finished higher across the board in Asia this morning, lifted by Chinese lending data from the People's Bank of China which revealed borrowing for January was above expectations. Loans for the four-week period leapt to 1.32trn yuan from 482.5bn yuan in December and 1.07bn in the same period a year earlier, indicating that borrowing hasn't been affected by fears over credit expansion.
However, the performance on the Nikkei-225 was rather more volatile after data showed Japan's economy grew less than expected in the final three months of 2013, with gross domestic product up an annualised 1%, below expectations of 2.8%.
Over in the US, stocks registered their best weekly performance in the year-to-date, boosted by a better-than-expected reading of consumer sentiment which offset a fall in industrial production.
In celebration of Presidents' Day, both US stock and bond markets will be closed today.
Investors have also welcomed the departure of Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta last week. Letta fell on his sword after his party backed calls for a new administration, with Matteo Renzi, who is widely expected to replace Letta, saying a change was needed to end the "uncertainty" and lack of action over the country's economic situation.
RSA Insurance jumps on plans for £350m equity placing
RSA Insurance topped the leaderboard this morning after the Financial Times reported the company is set to raise up to £350m in an emergency share sale that would mean it avoids a rights issue. Recently appointed Chief, Stephen Hester, has reportedly been approached by several major investors who have indicated their support for such a move. The group's shares
have suffered since it was revealed accounting problems in Ireland had resulted in a huge hole in its balance sheet.
IMI shares climbed following the company's confirmation of a share capital consolidation taking place today.
Outsourcing giant Capita rose on the news it has signed a framework contract to deliver the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN), a single network that has been set up to connect all public service organisations within Scotland. The agreement is worth up to £325m over a nine-year period.
Property group Hammerson impressed with a rise in annual profits, driven by strong demand for retail property. Pre-tax profit for the year ended December 31st 2013 came to £341.2m, up from £142.2m the previous year, as like-for-like net rental income climbed 2.1% to £282.8m.
On the second tier, Fidessa Group, which provides software and trading systems to the financial services sector, disappointed after saying revenue was flat at £279m due to a reduction in consultancy earnings.
Elsewhere, scandal-hit Co-operative Group has announced plans to conduct a national survey on its future to seek public opinion on the 150-year-old company.
FTSE 100 - Risers
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 98.60p +2.87%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,281.00p +2.15%
IMI (IMI) 1,517.00p +1.56%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,846.00p +1.51%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,993.00p +1.44%
BAE Systems (BA.) 437.40p +1.27%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 777.50p +1.17%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,082.00p +1.15%
British Land Co (BLND) 672.00p +1.13%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 315.00p +1.12%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
SSE (SSE) 1,381.00p -0.58%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,545.00p -0.52%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,040.50p -0.36%
William Hill (WMH) 346.00p -0.32%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,508.00p -0.23%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 401.00p -0.10%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 344.90p -0.09%
Centrica (CNA) 318.00p -0.06%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,290.00p -0.04%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Polymetal International (POLY) 675.00p +2.66%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 280.00p +2.49%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,849.00p +2.10%
Telecity Group (TCY) 655.00p +1.55%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 853.00p +1.55%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 66.90p +1.36%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 768.00p +1.32%
Bellway (BWY) 1,626.00p +1.25%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 2,942.00p +1.20%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 172.00p +1.12%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,375.00p -2.27%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,941.00p -2.16%
Rank Group (RNK) 142.40p -1.66%
CSR (CSR) 673.00p -1.39%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 897.50p -1.37%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 99.30p -1.19%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 576.00p -1.12%
Keller Group (KLR) 1,216.00p -0.90%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 148.40p -0.87%
Hellermanntyton Group (HTY) 300.30p -0.86%