BSkyB rose after Ofcom announced that it believes the company "remains a fit and proper holder of its broadcasting licences". Commenting on the news analysts at Nomura are of the following opinion: "Ofcom does not demand James Murdoch be removed from the board, but leaves this question up to the other directors at BSkyB. There are still obstacles to News Corporation reviving its bid for BSkyB, not least ongoing police investigations, the statements made at the time by David Cameron and Ed Miliband and the prevailing political climate; however, this judgement removes one crucial barrier, in our view."
The Chinese PMI manufacturing data has hit metals prices and prompted a sell-off of mining stocks, with Evraz, Anglo American and ENRC all dragging the FTSE lower. Stateside railway operator Norfolk Southern is heading south after it lowered its profit outlook for the third quarter due to lower shipments of coal and merchandise. The Dow Jones Transports index is now by far the worst performer on the NYSE.
BHP Billiton, meanwhile, has confirmed it is to cease studies into the expansion of its Red Hill coal asset in central Queensland. The decision should not come as too great a surprise as the group announced on August 22nd that it would delay a number of project expansions because of current market conditions.
In other company news, Imperial Tobacco Group has said that the overall financial position and operational performance of the group in the year ended September 30th has been in line with its expectations. Tobacco net revenues are expected to be up by around four per cent with particularly good performances in its Eastern Europe, Africa & Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. However, stick equivalent volumes are expected to decline by up to three per cent, the majority of which is due to ongoing market weakness in Ukraine and Poland and compliance with international trade sanctions against Syria.
Utility company United Utilities was making small gains after saying it remains confident of delivering its 2010-15 regulatory out-performance targets after a solid start to the current financial year. Revenue in the year to the end of March 2013 should be higher than last year, but, as expected, the increase is slightly below the allowed regulated price rise, principally reflecting the ongoing impact of customers switching to meters and continued lower commercial volumes.
Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) fell after saying it is to tap the bond market to refinance its short-term borrowings and top up its war-chest. The group is offering £300m of senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2018, although, depending on demand, the size of the issue may increase to £350m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 158.00p +1.80%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,370.00p +1.46%
ITV (ITV) 90.75p +1.40%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,726.50p +1.06%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 733.00p +0.83%
Amec (AMEC) 1,139.00p +0.71%
Capita (CPI) 765.50p +0.46%
Centrica (CNA) 336.90p +0.42%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,719.00p +0.41%
Diageo (DGE) 1,714.50p +0.38%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Evraz (EVR) 261.00p -5.95%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,937.00p -4.77%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 341.20p -4.53%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 718.00p -4.27%
Capital Shopping Centres Group (CSCG) 333.10p -3.90%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,038.00p -3.89%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,055.00p -3.37%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,248.00p -3.11%
Barclays (BARC) 218.30p -3.04%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,812.00p -3.00%